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Tradition Is An Evil Dictator In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

779 words - 4 pages

Tradition is an evil dictator. Tradition can be simple or complex. Tradition has the power to force someone to do something or not do something. In Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”, the reader gets an uneasy feeling that tradition dictates everything. Jackson makes it obvious that this village is run completely on tradition and that everyone fears change.
One-way to ensure that the tradition of the lottery is continued, the children participate. The children are the first to assemble then the rest to the village. The total population in this village is only about three hundred people; this means that everyone is close and knows each other. Before the lottery is conducted, the children put ...view middle of the document...

Why would they want to use something that is damaged? “No one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box.” (Jackson 264) The fact that the box’s color was black represents the death that is the cruel tradition of the village. Although the village holds tightly to tradition, some things have been changed through the years. The changes have been minute: standing instead of sitting, saying something instead of singing it, and a ritual salute. The reason why some things get altered is because “so much of the ritual had been forgotten or discarded” (Jackson 264). Because the ritual could be forgotten, the lottery’s rules are not written out. The lottery is a blind observance that the people have accepted for years.
After someone “won” the lottery, the people looked forward to their favorite tradition: killing. “Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remember to use the stones.” When it came to the actual killing of Tessie Hutchinson, the villagers remembered exactly what to do. Being stoned to death is very painful and long process. When being stoned to death, the victim dies from blunt impact injury and blood loss. The Convention Against Torture (CAT) conceders the act of stoning to be...

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