"The Lottery"by Shirley Jackson Analytical Essay by Neatwriter

"The Lottery"by Shirley Jackson
This paper discusses the significance of ritual and tradition in "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson.
# 61147 | 990 words | 1 source | MLA | 2005 | US
Published on Sep 21, 2005 in Literature (American) , English (Analysis)

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This paper explains that, although ritual and tradition are bound up within Shirley Jackson's American Gothic tale "The Lottery", the best way to understand these two motifs is to examine one of the central characters, namely Mr. Summers, the conductor of the lottery. The question remains as to why Mr. Summers and the rest of the villagers continue the tradition of the lottery for it is obviously somewhat dated and rather redundant; but the writer points out that due to her skill as one of America's most talented storytellers, Shirley Jackson allows the reader to ponder this question alone. The paper concludes that the evils associated with certain cultural manifestations in the book, especially those related to ritual and tradition, can do far more harm than good.

From the Paper:

"Mr. Summers's desire to "finish quickly" seems to indicate that he views the stoning of Tess Hutchinson, the person whose name was on the slip of paper withdrawn from the "black box," as an act of utter necessity, due to the age-old tradition of the ritual, part of which has been forgotten except for the use of stones as lethal weapons. This is highly reminiscent of certain passages in the Old Testament and in the New Testament where Jesus prevents the stoning of a prostitute by saying "Let the man who is without sin cast the first stone." It is almost as if Shirley Jackson has taken the ritual of stoning to new heights, for the luckless victim has not been found guilty of any kind of a crime and has not committed any acts against society; thus, the ritual appears to supersede any and all ethics linked to society and human behavior."

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