Books and Movies Reviews

The Lottery

Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” depicts a seemingly average village with average citizens. The citizens of this village participate in an annual lottery in which the winner will be stoned to death. It is believed that the death of the winner will bring heartier crops to the village. Jackson introduces the lottery as a tradition that has been performed for many years The story stresses the importance of one aspect of human nature, which is that people are inherently bad, but do have the ability to change.
“The Lottery” tells that it is not tradition but ignorance and savagery which justify the ritual. In the beginning of the story Jackson paints a picture of a normal village getting ready to celebrate a joyous occasion. She goes further by setting the time of the event. “The people of the village began to gather in the square. . . so it can begin at ten o’clock in the morning and still be through in time to allow the villagers to get home for noon dinner” (78). The villagers’ acceptance of the lottery and its schedule is justified by tradition. However, although not mentioned in the introduction this seemingly normal village is preparing for a murder. The lottery’s ritual can be defined as tradition, but to accept the fact that a murder can be committed prior to sitting down for noon dinner is absurd.These villagers are savages “hidden behind (their) seemingly civilized exteriors” (775).
The duality of human nature is shown through the villagers.It can be seen clearly through Tessie Hutchinson.Before she is picked, Tessie shows up late because she was cleaning the dishes, and jokes as she goes through the crowd.When it is her husband’s turn to draw a slip of paper, she even says “Go up there, Bill” (81).Then, after her family is chosen, she goes so far as to want her married daughter to take their chance to increase her chance of not being killed.Tessie’s children, also, show the duality of human nature…


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