The Lottery by Shirley Jackson is a story that represents a village that lacks the courage to rid themselves of a tradition that harms people within their community annually. A black box is used to draw paper that will inform which family will be stoned that year. The black box symbolizes a deadly black hole that the villagers are occupying because they are scared of change and follow a tradition that other towns already discarded. Overall, The Lottery is a reflection of a quote by Thoreau, which expresses the views that many people act robotic. Communities tend to act mechanical by being powerless against government, and not having their own views or thoughts that can help them change and develop as individuals.
A lack of power is emphasized throughout The Lottery, which expresses Thoreau’s views about how people have “no free exercise”. People do not think for themselves, they just follow what the government or the higher class tells them. Shirley Jackson explains in her story that the people of the village lack power and courage. As thoughts by a new generation arose of ending a tradition that has been around for a long time, those people were looked at as a “Pack of crazy fools.” Old Man Warner being the eldest person in the village, disregarded the ideas of change in the village, showing that he has the power to control whether the tradition is alive or gets replaced. He seems to have control over the lives of the people in the village because they let a tradition, that they have “forgotten the rituals” of, control who gets stoned rather than powerfully rebelling against the norms of the community.
Many people focus on maintaining and upholding moments and traditions rather than allowing their experiences to help them grow and develop. People constantly talk about putting an end to certain traditions however, the society stresses the norms making people act robotic. Society’s ideal views of how the community should act cause hesitation towards change. The village people seem to think that moving away from such a tradition is “nothing but trouble.” The author states, “that over in the north village they’re talking of giving up the lottery” (Jackson 376). This provides us with evidence that although other towns are giving up certain traditions, this town choses to stay the same with no change. Overall, the community is too adjusted to the tradition to realize their robotic, “no free exercise” wrongful doings.
The community never questions the fairness of most traditions until they are the ones to be chosen to fulfill this year’s ritual. In The Lottery, when everyone is mechanically following the yearly activity, every family prepares stones to throw at an individual, no one questions whether it is morally right or wrong. Inevitably, no one puts any thought into it until he or she is chosen to get hurt. Tessie Hutchinson, one of the family member chosen to take part in the tradition, yells “It wasn’t fair.” One of the villagers...