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Thesis For The Lottery By Shirley Jackson

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“The Lottery”, a short story by Shirley Jackson, is about a lottery that takes place in a small village. The story starts off with the whole town gathering in the town square, where Mr. Summers holds the lottery. Once everyone gathers, every family draws a slip of paper out of an old black box, and the family with the black mark on their paper gets picked. After that, each family member older than 3 years of age re-draws a slip of paper again and this time, the person with the black mark on their paper gets picked as the “lucky winner” of the lottery. In this short story, after the Hutchinson family gets drawn, Tessie Hutchinson is declared “winner” of the lottery, with her reward is being stoned to death. Why would such a cruel event take…show more content…
There are a few hints in the text that no one enjoys it, including, “ ‘Well, now,’ Mr. Summers said soberly, ‘guess we better get started, get this over with so’s we can go back to work. (p. 19, lines 169-171).’ ” and “She watched while Mr. Graves came around from the side of the box, greeted Mr. Summers gravely and selected a slip of paper from the box (p. 22, lines 238-241).” Shouldn’t a lottery be a joyful occasion? Why is everyone so gloomy? The characters’ behaviors don’t exactly scream “I love the lottery!” The most logical reason for doing something that makes them unhappy is they are doing it as a tradition. But why not break the tradition? After digging a little deeper, it is easy to see that the lottery has been going on for a long time: “There was a story that the present box had been made with some pieces of the box that had preceded it, the one that had been constructed when the first people settled down to make a village here (p. 16, lines 78-82).” Since the original black box was made when the village first settled, the lottery is an ancient tradition that is generations old. It is hinted that the village started a long time ago because the oldest man in town, Old Man Warner says, “Seventy-seventh year I been in the lottery ... Seventy-seventh time. (p. 23, lines 280-282).” Since the lottery has been going on for at least 77 years, it has happened for enough time to call it a
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