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essay on the lottery

The Lottery Essay

The Lottery Symbolism

Jackson’s short story The Lottery takes its readers down the slippery slope of an uncivilized society. Taking place in the 1900’s, a non-descript village continues to practice it’s established customs for the sake of preserving tradition. Every member of the village must attend the lottery, and every person must draw their ticket. Through Shirley Jackson’s work, the story is revealed through the eyes of Tess Hutchinson, a housewife living in the village. Readers will find out if Tess prevails against all odds, or if her luck has abandoned her in The Lottery. At the beginning of the story, it seems to be a happy day in the village. “The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers…

The Lottery Questions

“The Lottery” Questions 1. Are there any books or movies that you have read or seen that are like this one? “The Hunger Games” reminds me of “The Lottery”, because they are similar in many ways. Just like how “the people of the village [begin] to gather in the square” (The Lottery pg23) in “The Lottery”, districts in “The Hunger Games” do the same. A boy and a girl are chosen by drawing two pieces of paper from a bowl, and in the other story, husbands draw in a box. There is no real prize, but…

Hypocrisy Of The Lottery

Do you want to be a multimillionaire? All it takes to become a millionaire is to win the lottery, but how great do you think your odds are? In “The jaw-dropping hypocrisy of the Powerball,” Danny Cevallos discusses different aspects of the lottery and how hypocritical it and the government is. Cevallos says, “When it comes to lotteries, the government should be ashamed of itself.” Cevallos is correct in saying the lottery and the government are hypocritical and unfair. Cevallos talks about how…

The Lottery Summary

The Lottery Plot June 27 arrived in the form of a bright morning; sunlight bringing out the vivid colors of the flowers and the grass, and heralding in a day of longstanding tradition in a rural town. On this morning, the annual lottery was to be held. Townspeople gathered together, socializing, sharing stories, remarking on the day’s work and last year’s lottery as children played and gathered stones into a pile. They took time each year to participate in this time-honored tradition, but not…

The Lottery Inhumanness

“Lottery” Rough Draft When one thinks of a lottery they most likely think that “winning” is a good thing. You might receive money, a car, or other kinds of valuables. This is definitely not the case for the winner in the “Lottery.” The winner is more like the loser and is unfortunately stoned to death by her fellow friends and family members. Shirley Jackson’s shocking story, “The Lottery,” explores the theme of man’s inhumanity to man through the use of irony and foreshadowing. In the…

Moralism In The Lottery

The American short story The Lottery by Shirley Jackson takes place in a farm dependent town that still goes by tradition. The community has long forgotten the meaning of the traditional lottery, but they still go through with it solely for tradition’s sake. Each man must choose a slip of paper, and then the family of the man who picked the black dot must draw again. Tessie, the wife of Bill whom chose the dot, exclaimed that the process wasn ‘t fair, but her statement didn’t stop the…

Themes In The Lottery

Similarly, in “The Lottery” regular citizens murdered someone each year by blindly following their traditions. The overall theme of “The Lottery” is the dangers of blindly following traditions and the theme was supported by three main literary aspects. In “The Lottery” Jackson supports that there is danger in blindly following traditions by showing conflicts in the plot, using symbolism in objects and situations, and using irony throughout the short story. The conflicts in the plot that…

Sexism In The Lottery

extraordinary stories. One of her most well known stories is called “The Lottery.” The lottery is viewed as a stunning and shocking short story that leaves everybody confused. In the short story Jackson use theme, symbolism and irony to demonstrate the wrong doing of the human life. The town lottery comes full circle in a fierce murder every year, an unusual custom that recommends how hazardous convention can be when individuals tail it indiscriminately. Before we realize what sort of lottery…

The Lottery Symbolism Analysis

passion, and even maybe danger. In this short story by The lottery is about a village that everyone gathers for a lottery each year. They collect stones and gather around to talk to each other in the middle of the town. The villagers talk to each other and talk about the lottery. Mr. Summer’s gets to the town with a black box and a three legged…

The Lottery Mentality Analysis

Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” begins in a small town of 300 and on the 27th of June the townspeople assemble once a year for the lottery. Mr. Summers conducts the lottery and places an old worn out black box that’s older than all citizens on a stool, which contains slips of paper. Detailed list is made of each family, Mr. Summers takes note of the ones unable to attend and the lottery begins with the head of each household taking a slip of paper. They check their slips of paper and the one who…

The Lottery Essay The Lottery Symbolism Jackson’s short story The Lottery takes its readers down the slippery slope of an uncivilized society. Taking place in the 1900’s, a non-descript

“The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson Essay

The Lottery, a 1948 short story by Shirley Jackson, developed the themes of adherence to meaningless traditions, parenting and scapegoating. The broad aftermath and the negative responses of the readers who did not see the line between fiction and reality prove that the plot of the short story The Lottery by Jackson reflects the real problems of the modern community.

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The plot of the story depicts a two hours lottery in a small town which finishes with a ritualistic death ceremony of stoning the unlucky participant as a sacrifice for ensuring a better harvest. At the beginning of the short story, the village children walk around collecting stones.

Mr. Summers who runs the lottery mixes the slips of paper in a black box, checks if everyone is in place and invites the heads of the families to draw the papers. When it clears out that Bill Hutchinson gets the unlucky slip, his wife Tessie starts protesting saying that her husband had not enough time for making his choice and the lottery is not fair.

Then, each member of the Hutchinsons family selects a slip of paper, and Tessie draws a slip with a black dot on it. Then, the villagers throw their stones into Tessie as a part of their death ritual. The fact that Tessie does not question the rite itself, but protests against the choice of her family emphasizes the idea of adherence to tradition as the major theme of the short story.

The rite is regarded as sacred and the idea of doubting it does not occur to anybody. When Mrs. Adams admits that the ritual of the lottery has already been abandoned in other villages, Warner as the eldest man in this community answers that giving up the rite can cause only troubles. “Next thing you know, they’ll be wanting to go back to living in caves” (Jackson 14).

Justifying the death ritual with the fact that the lottery has been always held in the village previously, Jackson discloses the theme of parenting when in one of the final episodes, a woman puts a stone into a child’s hand, fostering the tradition of violence and lotteries searching for the scapegoats to be stoned.

Regardless of the indignation raising in the readers’ minds, after decoding the symbolic meaning of the depicted lottery rite, everyone can recollect the situations from personal experience and world’s history in which modern the community selects a scapegoat to be discriminated.

For instance, the Nazis scapegoated the Jewish people, proclaiming them the reason of their troubles. Regardless of the current societal progress, modern people frequently scapegoat sexual and ethnical minorities, blaming them for the current moral decay and other social problems. The social phenomenon of scapegoating is rooted deep in public consciousness and tradition according to which the dominating social group looks for the opportunities of self-affirmation and shifting the responsibility for their problems on the others.

Though the ritual of stoning to death has certain historical basis, its meaning is rather symbolical and should not be taken literally by modern readers. The examples of scapegoating the others, including the limited rights of immigrants for finding a good job and the so-called glass ceiling due to which women receive lower salaries than men doing the same job and have lower chances for career promotion clearly represent the phenomenon of scapegoating in modern community.

In other words, appealing to the readers’ feelings, Shirley Jackson provides them with food for thought not limited to the indignation with the medieval rite, but extended to the reappraisal of their own attitudes and behavior.

The aftermath of The Lottery and the readers’ reaction to the short story proves that its plot impressed the readers recognizing it as the reflection of their lives.

After the short story was published in The New Yorker in 1948, the author received hundreds of hostile letters from the readers objecting to the brutal ending of the story. “As Jackson noted in her witty essay Biography of a Story, many of the letters she received that summer were from people who wanted to know whether these lotteries are held and whether they could go there and watch” (Murphy 104).

The debates concerning the actual location of these rites prove that the line between the fiction and reality as perceived by the readers appeared to be unclear. Hypocritically concealing their fear of becoming a scapegoat, not feeling empathy with Tessie Hutchinson who becomes a victim and not having moral strength and common sense to abandon the meaningless rite, the characters of the short story have a strong resemblance to modern readers.

“The contradictions of myth and ideology, the imaginary solutions to real problems, emerge in the specific rituals that ostensibly endorse the myth and ideology” (Hattenhauer 44). Thus, the plot of the short story can be regarded as the exaggerated reflection of the phenomenon of scapegoating as the imaginary solution to the real problems of the modern community.

The readers’ reaction to the short story The Lottery which became the classic of American literature proves that the depicted phenomenon of scapegoating appeals to their feelings as a topical problem of the modern community.

Works Cited

Hattenhauer, Darryl. Shirley Jackson’s American Gothic. State University of New York Press, 2003. Print.

Jackson, Shirley. The Lottery. Mankato: Creative Education, 2008. Print.

Murphy, Bernice. Shirley Jackson: Essays on the Literary Legacy. Jefferson: McFarland & Company Publishers. Print.

The Lottery, a 1948 short story by Shirley Jackson, developed the themes of adherence to meaningless traditions, parenting and scapegoating. The Lottery by Jackson reflects the real problems of the modern community. ]]>