The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

March 27, 2012
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The Lottery

Have you ever thought about why you do what you do? Maybe it’s having a cake on your birthday, or singing the national anthem at a sports event. The lottery is a short story based on tradition. No one in the town really knows why they keep the tradition of the Lottery. In Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” she critiques tradition through the characters lack of critical thinking, accepting the norm and not questioning the lottery.
No one in the story questions the lottery until you’re the person who has to get stoned. Tessie states just after there family got the black dot “You didn’t give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn’t fair!” (Jackson 4). This also relates to real life situations more than you probably think. Have you ever thought about maybe a food you always have on a holiday such as turkey on Thanksgiving? Or maybe even about bad laws that have never applied to you until you broke them? There may be traditions that you don’t think are right until you’re the culprit.
Finally, almost everyone has been in the situation that you question something that has been going on for a while. Most of the time you don’t realize it until it relates to you. Shirley Jackson makes a great point in the story even though it’s a strange way of expressing what happens in real life. Maybe you don’t think about why you do what you do but there may be something you can change about a tradition that you thought you believed in. Next time you go on an Easter egg hunt think, why are you searching for eggs after the Easter bunny when bunnies don’t lay eggs?





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