ANALYSIS OF THE LOTTERY
Today we live much of our lives following traditions that we pass down from generation to generation. Traditions play a major role in how we raise our kids; celebrate holidays and other family rituals. In Shirley Jackson’s short story, “The Lottery,” the people in a small farm town follow a tradition, as well. The citizens of this small town are gathering in the town square for the annual lottery. The story shows how a small town clings obliviously to a tradition no matter how senseless or evil it is.
The person who wins the lottery undergoes cruel and bizarre death by stoning at the hands of their fellow townspeople. This ritual is believed to bring a fruitful crop for the upcoming harvest season. Some have suggested that the lottery be stopped, but most find the idea unheard of because they have lived in its practice for most of their lives.
One aspect of tradition is that it may be passed down from one generation to the next through its practice. This ensures that the tradition survives. Jackson writes, “Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example…eventually they made a great pile of stones in one corner of the square and guarded against the raids of the other boys.” (Jackson 422) It is shown that children’s behavior is influenced by the actions of their parents; they naively utilize the behavior as a part of their play. The children seem to grasp the concept of what the lottery means to the town as they play, protecting the stones as if they were gold. “The children had stones already, and someone gave little Davy Hutchinson few pebbles.” (Jackson 428) This shows that the people would go to great lengths to ensure that traditions are followed and passed along. They expect a small child who is innocent of what is about to occur to participate in such an event. They expect that the family of the victim will participate in the sacrifice/murder...