Alexandra are participating in, the villagers and their preparations

Alexandra Glover Mrs. ThompsonEnglish December 18, 2017″The Lottery” and its evil ritual The traditions and the ritual of “The Lottery” in Shirley Jackson’s story seems to be just as old as the town itself, specifically since most of the residents don’t recall any of the old rituals, even Old Man Warner, who is “celebrating” his 77th lottery. By the meanings of this, they are old fashioned in some ways and fixed traditions of superstitions that seemed to involve human sacrifice. The villager lottery culminates in a violent murder each year, a odd fact that suggests how dangerous rituals can be when people follow them blindly. Before we know what kind of lottery they are participating in, the villagers and their preparations seem harmless. They have selected a relatively pathetic man to run the lottery, and children run around gathering stones in the town square. In “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, Psychoanalytic theory helps the reader come to the conclusion that the townspeople are included in an act of conspiracy.  This conclusion is significant because of the townspeople to abandon tradition and question the lottery ritual suggests the negative consequences of blindly following evil rituals, the randomness of persecution, and the townspeople are governed by mob psychology and abandon their reason to act out with great cruelty. The refusal of the townspeople to abandon tradition and question the lottery’s ritual suggest the negative consequence of blindly following the evil rituals. In the text, the narrator, is explaining a reason that leads to the negative consequences. “The original paraphernalia for the lottery had been long ago, and 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. Mr. Summers spoke frequently to the villagers about making a new box, but no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box”{Jackson 1}. The villagers are extremely resistant to change, although as seen in other passages, the lottery is not without its detractors. As the text shows, the narrator, talks about a tradition if a black box. “Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original box, they still remembered to use stones”{Jackson 7}. This quotation appears about halfway through the story, just before the drawing of the slips began, which expresses the lottery down to its essence: murder. The villagers may talk of tradition, ritual, and history, but the truth -as this quote clarifies- is that the traditional parts of it has long been discarded. The original ritual and box may have been carried along a tradition, as violent and bizarre as it might be, but now, without the original trappings and procedures, all that is left to remain is the violence. The villagers are all too eager to embrace what remains, eagerly picking up the stones and carrying on the “tradition” for another year. Villagers harass individuals aimlessly, and the victim found guilty of no crime other than drawing the wrong slip of paper from the black box. The complicated ritual of the lottery is designed so the villagers have the same chance of becoming the next victim, even the children of the town are at risk. Each year someone new is chosen and killed, no family is safe. What makes “The Lottery” so shocking is the quickness with which the villagers turn against the victim. The narrator shows many examples throughout the story, but the best on for this theme is, “And someone gave little Davy Hutchinson a few pebbles”{Jackson 7}. This quotation struck a chord because Davy Hutchinson was Tessie Hutchinson’s youngest and was so young he could not draw a lottery ticket for himself. The Lottery encourages family members to turn on family members. The town raises the children to believe that the Lottery, that death opens for loved ones, and that grieving are perfectly normal activities. This quote really embodies that teaching generation after generation traditions, that may no longer apply, that other towns are given up, will only breed more ignorance. Another example is, “Get up there, Bill,” Mrs. Hutchinson said”{Jackson 4}. This passage demonstrates Mrs. Hutchinson’s eagerness to participate in the lottery. She actually encourages her husband forward, contrary to her protest that he was not given enough time. The moment Tessie Hutchinson chooses the marked slip, she loses her identity as a popular housewife. All her close friends and family participated in the killing with as much enthusiasm as every other town member. Tessie became invisible to them as she pleaded for her life. Although she had done nothing wrong, her innocence does not matter. She had drawn the marked slip, which makes herself became marked and according to the logic of The Lottery, she therefore has to die. The townspeople are governed by mob psychology and abandon their reason to act out with great cruelty.  “Well now,” Mr. Summers said soberly . “Guess we better get started, get this over with, so’s we can go back to work” {Jackson 2}. This is a hard-working society, so hard-working, that murdering one of their members needs to take place on a time table. The townspeople are so caught up in the ritual that they have given up any sense of logic, mob psychology rules out their actions. Though they appear to be sane, sensible individuals when the time of the lottery comes, they abandon their rational nature and revert to the instincts of the herd. This psychological aspect is a characteristic of humans throughout history. Although Shirley Jackson describes it in its extreme form in this story, the idea that men and women in groups that are willing to forget personal responsibility and act out with great cruelty towards others is evidenced in actions of lynch mob and similar incidents. The eagerness of the people to act unreasonable as members of the town, displaying conditions, while unpleasant, are still essential parts of their nature that they must recognize if they are to keep them in check. “Although Mr. Summers and everyone else in the village knew the answer perfectly well, it was the business of the official of the lottery to ask such questions formally”{Jackson 3}. This quotation shows up just about halfway through the story, just before they started to draw for slips. Mr. Summers asked who was drawing for the Dunbars and Mrs. Dunbar said she was. Mr. Summers asked Mrs.Dunbar if, Horace, her son was drawing for the family in place of Mr. Dunbar, who had broke his leg, even though everyone knew Horace was still way to young. There is no purpose in asking the question, other then that the question is part of the tradition. Even through the other parts of the ritual have either changed or have been discarded over the years, this rule has been held very firmly for absolutely no logical reason. The villagers’ blind acceptance of the lottery has allowed ritual murder to become part of their town. As they have demonstrated, they feel very powerless to change or even try to change anything. Although there is no one forcing them to keep things the same, they do. Old Man Warner is so faithful to tradition, that he fears the villagers will return to primitive times if they stop holding the lottery. These ordinary people, who have just came from work and from their homes and will soon be returning home for lunch.They just kill someone and act like nothing happened. And they don’t have a reason to for doing it other than the fact that they have always held the lottery to kill a towns member. If the townspeople stopped to question the lottery, they   would be forced to ask themselves why they are committing the crime of murder, but no one stops to take the time to question themselves. Word Count: 1317

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