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The Lottery Shirley Jackson - Essay Example

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‘The Lottery’ is a story by Shirley Jackson, which was published in 1948. The lottery is an annual practice in the small town that is unnamed in the story. The people from the town all gather for the annual ceremony which though…
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The Lottery Shirley Jackson

Download file to see previous pages... The people are all speculating on who is likely to win the draw. When one of them, Tessie, picks the paper with the black mark on it she protests that the draw has been unfair. The people ignore her and eventually hurl stones at her. ‘The Lottery’ tells of the evil that exists within all people, even those that look harmless.
The people in the town have continued to practice the ancient tradition of the lottery despite the lack of knowledge of the original purpose of the ceremony (Murphy 105). This tradition is practiced with the knowledge that at the end of the draw, a person will be chosen at random to be stoned to death. The person’s friends and family are expected to participate in the act. The event has been compared to other practices such as Halloween, showing that it is acceptable to the members of that community. The willingness to participate in such an event shows the evil present in the people.
The people from the town are reflective of man’s need and desire for a scapegoat, an object or person through whom they can release their frustrations. This is the object or person through whom they are able to project their undesirable characters. Such an object can then be destroyed by being offered as a sacrifice, or through some ritualistic act. The fact that the killing of a person at the end of the lottery draw has been turned into a ritual makes the act of killing someone (murder) acceptable to people who otherwise appear normal and religious. The turning of the practice into a ritual masks the evil and brutality of the act.
The choice of characters and their names advance the main idea in the story. The characters are given ordinary names and live ordinary lives. This is suggestive of harmlessness and morally upright way of life. The fact that they all take part in the annual ritual of stoning one of their own to death suggests that one would have been wrong to judge them on the appearance of normalcy that they have. They are ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
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