The contribution of culture to the community
The story by Shirley Jackson aims at allowing readers understand the contribution of culture to the community. Ideally, every community has their culture inherited or copied from the ancestors. The community addressed in this story is not any different. They are used to a culture where one person takes responsibility for the evils that occur in the community. They are serious about this activity to the extent that they even set a date when the activity is to take place. Interestingly, the community also obliges with the idea and willingly turn-up to attend this important function. They are aware that one person will be selected in the lottery and each of them hopes that it will not be a member of their families. Evil in the community is driven out by ensuring that one of the community members takes responsibility for the wrong actions of the community, which is a dangerous activity (Jackson 25).
The author aims at proving to his readers that life is precious to the extent that it can be sacrificed to cleanse every evil deed and omen in a community. The community, therefore, organizes the lottery an activity aimed at selecting a person who is to be blamed for the evils of the society. The person is then banished is a renewal ritual that involves stoning to death. The act of stoning the person, therefore, purges the community from the evil and allows them to embrace the good. The author also aimed at proving to the readers that human beings have a tendency of turning against one another very easily just because of something part of a culture they do not understand pushes them to hate. It also proves there is a gaunt line between violence and evil and thus a community is willing to sacrifice the life of one of their own as a way of freeing themselves from evil (Jackson 28).
Although the community treats this as a cultural practice, it culminates in violent murder performed every year. This is a dangerous tradition because apparently, the community is following it blindly. The acceptance of the cultural activity has pushed for ritual murder to become part of their fabric. Interestingly, the community members indulge in this ritual even though they only have a population of three hundred people. It takes them less than two hours murder, someone. The children are also part of the ordeal and thus given the opportunity to collect stones before they gather with the men and women (Jackson 26). They treat the function with high esteem to the extent that they do not want anyone to miss the event. The values of the future generation are polluted because they are introduced to this horrible activity when they are relatively young. The community does not care whether this murder cases will render it as outcasts when the whole community is wiped out by traditions (Kosenko 28).
Tessie Hutchinson who joined the crowd late was the one selected to be stoned to death despite the fact that she had already forgotten that it was the day of the lottery. The community is held into hostility with their traditions because they believe that if they gave up the tradition that is likely to return to a life where they will be living in caves. Despite the fact that lottery was given up is the other villages, this community is still vigilant in holding this belief. When all the community members participating in the lottery had collected their papers, they were asked to check, and word went round that Tessie’s father had the paper with the black dot, which implied that the person to be sacrificed needed to come from his family (Kosenko 29). Bill’s family is given a chance to select to determine the black sheep of the community. Surprisingly, when they opened their slips, Tessie had the paper with the black dot and therefore implied that she would be killed. The whole community is in haste and begins to throw stones at Tessie until she dies. She had no idea on a day such as this she would lose her life because of primitive cultural practices in her community (Jackson 27).
Shirley Jackson proves that the villages persecute their members at random even in the case where the victim is not guilty of any transgression other than drawing the paper with a black dot from the box. The box is used as an instrument of ensuring that all the villagers have equal probabilities of being selected as victims, whether old or young. When Tessie is selected, her friends and family also turn against her and participate in killing her with a lot of enthusiasm. A person becomes invisible provided they have selected the paper with the black dot. The innocence of a person no longer matter, and the villagers forget the good deeds the person had done all her life and only concentrate on the bad, which is picking the wrong paper (Jackson 28). This is an example of how traditions force a community to persecute innocent citizens for rather absurd reasons. A person is persecuted because of a wrong that is beyond their control including religion, appearance, color, race, class, gender, and family among other factors (Kosenko 31).
Jackson, Shirley. "The lottery." The New Yorker 26 (1948): 25-28.
Kosenko, Peter. "A Reading of Shirley Jackson’s ‘The Lottery’." New Orleans Review 12.1 (1985): 27-32.
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