Is it because it is the way it has always been done? In “The Lottery,” a short story, by Shirley Jackson , she uses literary elements such as setting, irony, and symbolism to portray the theme of tradition. The author, in this instance, conveys the existence of a tradition, that is not defined, could cause you to deliberately lose your life.
Charles Darwin once claimed that, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” This is easy to say, but to actually be adaptable to change is very difficult. If you fear change you will be unable to develop and thrive, yet most people still fear change. In Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” not being able to adapt to change is demonstrated.
“‘It’s not fair,’ she said. A stone hit her on the side of the head… ‘It isn’t fair! It isn’t right!’” (Jackson 6) Not all traditions should be kept, and this is prominent in The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. But why exactly must we keep these traditions?
On June 26 of 1948, Shirley Jackson’s short story, The Lottery, made its first appearance in an issue of The New Yorker. Jackson was surprised by the substantial amount of backlash she received in regards to her harrowing writing that manifests the rituals of human sacrifice. The story takes place in a small town on an ordinary summer morning. The villagers assemble at the town square for the annual lottery, where one of the villagers will be randomly chosen to sacrifice themselves to the gods of a fertility religion. The villagers believe that a human sacrifice must take place in June to ensure that a bountiful harvest was ahead of them.
“Lottery in June, Corn be heavy soon,” says Old Man Warner; Witches were commonly stoned to death because they ‘caused’ bad harvests in the time that “The Lottery” took place. Everyone that goes to Shirley Jackson’s lottery seems to have forgotten the meaning behind it. Many other ceremonies also have forgotten meanings. Christmas is one of these ceremonies that seems to have lost its original meaning. Most people think Christmas is just a reason to give and get presents.
The short story by Shirley Jackson is very difficult to understand. One day villagers come together in the square town to participate in the lottery to win something. The kids comes first and starts to gathering up stones until their parents come call them to come back. And then the actual lottery starts where somebody is going to win. When picking the lottery the villagers have the ritual where household goes first and then the family members.
This entire piece is a metaphor for different aspects of life. When the author says “[b]lock upon black, gradually, we are cancelling each other out…,” he is referring to both how he and his opponent play Monopoly and how people act in real life (McPhee 362). Each square on the board
The elders did not think so. The elders had been participating in the lottery their whole life. This is a very strange thing to me. If I grew up with that, I would think it would be normal too, but from the outside it seems like the worst thing in the world. I felt badly for these elders.
Everyone has those family traditions that they follow blindly, but in most cases everyone’s family tradition does not result in a dead family member or friend. In the story ‘The Lottery” a small village town has an annual lottery that they host every year that results in one dead member of their village. They choose their winner by gathering all the towns people’s names into a black box and drawing first a family from the town and then a member from within that family. In the film known as The Hunger Games, the people of Panem also follow the annual tradition of a lottery where the winners die. Although both stories share similar properties such as symbolism, they differ when it comes to the society and protagonists of each one.
For example, after Tessi is shown with the black dot, Mr. Summers says “All right folks,... Let's finish quickly.” This shows that Mr.Summers’ mind is crumbling after being the one who is controlling the black box, did not hesitate when telling others to stone Tessi. The others were not hesitant to go and stone her if anything they gave a rock to her own son. The black box and the tradition of the lottery have caused crumbling minds.
Shirley Jackson is known for her supernatural novels, her most famous novels are “The Haunting of Hill House” and “The Lottery” with many more to follow. Jackson’s work was the most popular during the twentieth century. The story “The Lottery” is based in the late 1940’s in a time after World War II. Literary elements used in this story are irony; because when you begin to read the story it makes the reader believe the winner is going to win something but at the end the “winner” dies. Another term used is setting and conflict because they help explain the story in more detail and give the story a plot twist and makes it more interesting for the reader.