The Message of Social Responsibility in The Lottery
Often, we paint a fairytale view of life for ourselves and our children. Sometimes, an author paints a frightfully realistic picture of life and forces us to reconsider the fairytale. In Shirley Jackson’s story, "The Lottery," a town each year conducts a lottery in which the winner or looser, in this case, is stoned to death by his or her own neighbors. The tradition is supposed to uphold social structure within the town, but in order to comprehend the true meaning of the story you must be able to read between the lines. "The Lottery" is a story about a town that has let its traditions go too far. Also, it is clear that the story contains eye-opening facts that lead me to believe that the author’s intentions were not to write a horror story, but rather cry to all to stop and realize we have problems that we can and should approach, that can make a difference in many people’s lives in our society.
The author states that the lottery is conducted every year in the spring. The flowers are blooming and the birds are singing, but this warm town quickly becomes a gloomy, overcast setting for a satanic event. This horrifying ritual ends in bloodshed and death. In our society today, there are large cities which have beautiful parks and people usually keep them clean and pretty throughout the year. However, just down the road lies the bad part of the city and no one wants to go anywhere near it. The bad section gets little attention from the people trying to improve the other areas, thus making the situation worse for the bad section. No one ever questioned or fought the mayor of the town in an effort to get rid of the lottery. This is why it lasted so long. From the beginning of the story, it is clear that the people of the town are sacred in their traditions.
Tessie Hutchinson strolls in late with not a care in the world. She, along with the townspeople, jokes around saying that they were going to miss her at this years lottery. She even states, "Clean forgot what day it was" (Jackson, 864). No one really seems worried that in an hour or so one of their neighbors will be stoned to death. The old worn out black box suggests that Jackson used a bit of irony to bring out the meaning of death. Black being a dark gothic color, and the oldness of the box suggests that the lottery is a tradition that has lasted for years. Old Man Warner, the town grandfather, supports the lottery and tries to make sure it lasts forever. This brings out...