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The Lottery Essay Research Paper THE LOTTERYThe

The Lottery Essay, Research Paper ?THE LOTTERY? The theme of violence and tradition is persuasive in the short story ?The Lottery? written by Shirley Jackson. This theme is not a generalized theme of violence, but a

The Lottery Essay, Research Paper

?THE LOTTERY?

The theme of violence and tradition is persuasive in the short story ?The Lottery?

written by Shirley Jackson. This theme is not a generalized theme of violence, but a

theme of ritualistic violence. This violence is shown in the traditional town-wide lottery

drawing that takes place on each June 27th. However, this lottery is not to draw a

winner of some great prize, but seeks to draw a loser whose life will be taken. This

ritual has been practiced for so long that the townspeople are no longer aware of its

origin or its true intent. No one cares why it is done, only that the tradition be upheld.

As Old Man Warner succinctly puts it, ?There?s always been a lottery?( ). He cannot

offer a good reason for it, nor does he care if there is a bad one. Not even the loss of a

life can persuade these people to leave a senseless tradition behind.

The lottery itself is symbolic of the paradox of the human psyche between

compassion and the thirst for violence and cruelty. An example of this is when the

children are enjoying a break from school, playing the way children do, and suddenly

they are being joined by ?rational? adults in stoning a mother to death. It appears that

tradition has blinded these people in an irrational way, making them unable to think of a

reason why this should not be happening.

The black box is the central idea or theme in the story. In the beginning it

symbolizes some type of mystery, but as we read the ending, we realize that it is

synonymous with doom. Someone?s fate lies in an inanimate object, the black box. The

black box is symbolic of our loathing of change. It is old and splintered, showing that we

cling to what is familiar. No one in the small town questions the origin of the box, but

accept it as an intricate part of their lives.

When forced with the possibility of death, human nature in all its complexity,

comes down to one instinctive urge–survival. When Tessie was in no danger she was

gossiping with the other ladies and even encouraged her husband to go and pick a

piece of paper. She demands that her daughters take their chances as well, which is

indicative of regression toward our basic instinct of survival. However, when Tessie

?wins? the lottery, she pleads for another chance and screams for mercy.

The pieces of paper that are lifted away by the breeze is not only symbolic of the

ease with which life can be taken, but is also symbolic of the civilizations that are

doomed to eventual failure for believing in and acting upon tradition instead of living by

the word of God. We see that even as Tessie is being stoned to death she does not

question the reasoning behind the lottery, but only why it should be her that has to die.

In the short story ?The Lottery,? Shirley Jackson makes the themes of tradition

and violence very obvious. The townspeople have no logical reason to carry out this

senseless violence other than the fact that it has been done for hundreds of years. By

writing this story, Jackson shocks the readers with a graphic demonstration of the

pointless violence and general inhumanity in their own lives.

?THE LOTTERY?

The theme of violence and tradition is persuasive in the short story ?The Lottery?

written by Shirley Jackson. This theme is not a generalized theme of violence, but a

theme of ritualistic violence. This violence is shown in the traditional town-wide lottery

drawing that takes place on each June 27th. However, this lottery is not to draw a

winner of some great prize, but seeks to draw a loser whose life will be taken. This

ritual has been practiced for so long that the townspeople are no longer aware of its

origin or its true intent. No one cares why it is done, only that the tradition be upheld.

As Old Man Warner succinctly puts it, ?There?s always been a lottery?( ). He cannot

offer a good reason for it, nor does he care if there is a bad one. Not even the loss of a

life can persuade these people to leave a senseless tradition behind.

The lottery itself is symbolic of the paradox of the human psyche between

compassion and the thirst for violence and cruelty. An example of this is when the

children are enjoying a break from school, playing the way children do, and suddenly

they are being joined by ?rational? adults in stoning a mother to death. It appears that

tradition has blinded these people in an irrational way, making them unable to think of a

reason why this should not be happening.

The black box is the central idea or theme in the story. In the beginning it

symbolizes some type of mystery, but as we read the ending, we realize that it is

synonymous with doom. Someone?s fate lies in an inanimate object, the black box. The

black box is symbolic of our loathing of change. It is old and splintered, showing that we cling to what is familiar. No one in the small town questions the origin of the box, but

accept it as an intricate part of their lives.

When forced with the possibility of death, human nature in all its complexity,

comes down to one instinctive urge–survival. When Tessie was in no danger she was

gossiping with the other ladies and even encouraged her husband to go and pick a

piece of paper. She demands that her daughters take their chances as well, which is

indicative of regression toward our basic instinct of survival. However, when Tessie

?wins? the lottery, she pleads for another chance and screams for mercy.

The pieces of paper that are lifted away by the breeze is not only symbolic of the

ease with which life can be taken, but is also symbolic of the civilizations that are

doomed to eventual failure for believing in and acting upon tradition instead of living by

the word of God. We see that even as Tessie is being stoned to death she does not

question the reasoning behind the lottery, but only why it should be her that has to die.

In the short story ?The Lottery,? Shirley Jackson makes the themes of tradition

and violence very obvious. The townspeople have no logical reason to carry out this

senseless violence other than the fact that it has been done for hundreds of years. By

writing this story, Jackson shocks the readers with a graphic demonstration of the

pointless violence and general inhumanity in their own lives.

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