Tradition In Jay Yarmove's The Lottery

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Jay Yarmove, from the University of Cincinnati, wrote “The underpinning of Shirley Jackson’s famous post-World War II story “The Lottery” demonstrate that the work is far greater than the sum of its parts” (Yarmove). This one sentence speaks volumes about the theme and symbolism in the story. The story is written in a manner that allows the reader to empathize with the characters and shows the importance but also the mockery of family and traditions.
Traditions are often thought of to be a way for families or communities to demonstrate the customs or beliefs of previous generations. Traditions are commonly thought to be a positive reflection on the past, however in “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson traditions are not positive in nature.
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Traditions are prevalent, particularly in small towns, like the one in the story, as a way to link families to past generations. The lottery that is held each year concludes with the villagers taking part in a vicious murder. The villagers are not fully aware of the reasons behind the lottery only that it is tradition and it has been taking place for many years. This shows the reality and consequences that come with thoughtlessly following such a bizarre…show more content…
Graves and Mr. Summers that are on the stage are the two most powerful men in the village. At first their names seem harmless or is it just a coincidence the lottery takes place in the summer and the outcome of the lottery is ultimately death or the grave. Mr. Graves’s name “reinforces the solemnity of the occasion and is associated with death” (Shields). As Mr. Summers is perhaps the wealthiest man in the village and is ultimately the one who controls the lottery. The details the author used in describing the characters or the families is another symbolism between the timing of the lottery and the family ties, or lack of, that is presented in the story. From naming the characters to the roles they each have in the story Jackson is sure to make sure the readers know each of their importance to the
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