The Lottery Essay Research Paper MerriamWebster

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The Lottery Essay, Research Paper Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines tradition as, an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom) and the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction. If we are to go by the latter definition , we can understand how traditions are easily lost. Have you ever played the game telephone? You whisper something in someone’s ear and they whisper it in another person^s ear until it finally returns back to you and normally what is returned isn’t even close to what you originally whispered into the first person’s ear In Shirley Jackson’s short story ,”The

Lottery” ,the main theme is how traditions that lose their meaning due to human forgetfulness can cause dreadful consequences to occur. Jackson uses a lot of symbolism to show this. The story is set in a small town, ^on the morning of June 27th^(272). It opens with false innocence , using the children building a rock pile, tricking the reader into a disturbingly unaware state. The reader almost expects the Lottery to be something wonderful since the “normal” lottery has the winner getting a prize of a large amount of money or possesion. Even the story alludes to the innocence , explaining how the the town also holds ^square dances, teenage club and the Halloween program^(273) in the same spot that the lottery is held. In “the Lottery” we discover that the town-folk use

a lottery, to pick a “winner” to stone to death. The winner is picked using a black box that has been around for ages, and has even been ^rebuilt with parts supposedly from the original black box^.(273) Within the box are slips of paper, enough for the entire town. On one slip of paper is a black dot for the one lucky winner. Black has always been a symbol for death, and the color of the box and dot are no exception to this rule. One of Merriam-Webster^s dictionary definitions of black is ^marked by the occurance of disaster^ . The black dot on the slip of paper identifies the lucky winner of the lottery-the person who will get stoned to death. No-one in town really knows exactly why it is a tradition although they have some vague ideas. Old Man Warner alludes that it was

once said “lottery in June, corn be heavy soon”.(276) Ironically, even the oldest member of this village doesn^t even remember the real reason behind the lottery. Although ^The villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original box, they still remembered to use stones” (278). Do people just pick and choose which part of a tradition they want to keep? On the eighth paragraph of ^The Lottery^, the character Tessie Huchinson, comes rushing to the square because she ^clean forgot what day it was^(274). This shows how easily a person can forget things. It also alludes to the murderous ritual when Tessie exclaims ^wouldn^t have me leave m^dishes in the sink^. Why would anyone who is participating in a lottery have to worry about dirty dishes, unless the prize was something

dreadful. Tessie appears to not take the ritual seriously, possibly because of the amount of people in the village or the fact she has been desensitized to the violent ritual. It can be assumed that Tessie doesn^t know very much about the history of the tradition because the man who is ^the official of the lottery^,(274) Mr. Summers, doesn^t remember the history either. Mr. Summers, the official of the lottery, doesn^t know that there is a ^perfunctory tuneless chant ^(274) that he was supposed to sing during the lottery or a ^ritual salute^(274) that he was supposed to use when addressing each person who came up to the black box. The unnamed villagers who remember some bits of history about those forgotten aspects of the ritual, aren^t even definite about the accuracy of their