"The Lottery" By Shirley Jackson Term Paper

Length: 2 pages Sources: 3 Subject: Black Studies - Philosophy Type: Term Paper Paper: #30708339 Related Topics: Lottery, Souls Of Black Folk, Black Death, Capital Punishment
Excerpt from Term Paper :


Literature that followed World War II in the United States tended towards the cynical, the depressive, and a sense of mortality that has not been as intense before the World War broke out for the first time. Furthermore, there came about a basic lack of trust in traditional, time-worn institutions, including the government and general social values. These mistrust issues and difficulty readjusting to post-war life are exemplified in stories such as "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson. In this shocking story, a community's tradition of yearly ritual sacrifice demonstrates general society's lack of basic critical thinking. It also demonstrates the reluctance to discard time-honored traditions, even if these have been proven outdated and unnecessary.

Jackson's short story opens with a deceptively idyllic scene, in which the author describes a clear, sunny day, with rich sunshine and summer colors. Throughout the story, the gathering of people and their interactions give away nothing of the dark truth that is revealed only in the last lines; that the "lottery" is in fact a game in which the prize is


The lottery has survived for at least 77 years, and is said to bring about "good crops." The most chilling aspect of the story is probably the fact that the village people gather almost eagerly for the yearly ritual, with apprehension apparent only once they start drawing the names. So embedded is the tradition in most of the minds of the village people that nobody considers questioning its continued validity.

Traditional values form the core of the lottery game the villagers in Jackson's story play every year. In keeping with the nature of tradition, some of its elements have held strong over the years, such as the black box holding the lottery draw papers: "... The black box now resting on the stool had been put into use even before Old Man Warner, the oldest man in town, was born." The stones used during the ritual killing, remained a tradition from the ancient times. Indeed, the stones are the first concrete indication that the lottery might not be a game of winning, but rather one of losing.

Other items, such as ritual greetings and interactions, which were heavily formalized in the past, have changed somewhat, although elements remain. Although it is known that some village people have family members who are indisposed or heads of households that have died, the question regarding…

Sources Used in Documents:


Hooti, N. And Mahmoudi, Y. (2013). Black Veil of Ignorantism under the Unconscious Conscience of Human Soul in Shirley Jackson's Lottery. International Research Journal of Applied and Basic Sciences. 5(10). Retrieved from: http://www.irjabs.com/files_site/paperlist/r_1585_131009104635.pdf

Jackson, S. (1948) The Lottery. Retrieved from: http://sites.middlebury.edu/individualandthesociety/files/2010/09/jackson_lottery.pdf

Lambert, S. (2014, Nov. 19). Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" as a Response to the Hypocrisy of Capital Punishment in the Late 1940's. Retrieved from: http://portfolio.snc.edu/sarah_lambert/wp-content/blogs.dir/107/files/sites/107/2013/08/New-Historic-Paper-PDF.pdf

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" The Lottery By Shirley Jackson", 04 April 2015, Accessed.23 January. 2022,

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