The Theme Of Sacrifice In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

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Although many who read Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” believe it to be about a crazy town viciously slaughtering an innocent woman for the ritualized sacrifice to bring them a feastful harvest of corn, it very clearly demonstrates Jackson’s hope to educate readers of the horrors of society’s blind following using social conformity, tradition, and general acceptance.
The story starts at around 10 o’clock a.m. on June 27, and children are stacking rocks. The whole town gathers around and picks one piece of paper per family, out of an old black box. One of the pieces of paper has a black dot on it, and the family that receives the black dot has to draw again, this time facing the possibility of death.
In the story, Bill Hutchinson has the black dot, and his wife starts screaming about how unfair it is. She starts yelling about how it’s rigged, and how Bill didn’t get to pick the piece of paper he wanted. Her neighbors started yelling at her to shut up, and telling her to be a good sport.
Mr. Summers, the ringleader of the lottery, asks if there’s any members of the family that are over 18. Tessie begins to throw her own daughter under the bus, but she is quickly denied because her daughter is married. The Hutchinson family comes up, one by one, and draws their slips of paper.
One by one, they are asked to reveal their piece of paper
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In “The Lottery”, Shirley Jackson shows social conformity with the lottery itself. Everyone in the town, including Tessie’s own family, throw rocks at her. People who appeared to be her friends only minutes before are telling her to be a good sport. We can also infer that the stoning is only accepted because the whole town is doing it, and if it was only one citizen throwing rocks at another until s/he died, it would be considered murder. This shows conformity
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