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Explication of Theme in Shirley Jacksons “The Lottery”

In Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” the theme of the story is dramatically illustrated by Jackson’s unique tone. Once a year the villagers gather together in the central square for the lottery. The villagers await the arrival of Mr. Summers and the black box. Within the black box are folded slips of paper, one piece having a black dot on it. All the villagers then draw a piece of paper out of the box. Whoever gets the paper with the black dot wins. Tessie Hutchinson wins the lottery! Everyone then closes in on her and stones her to death. Tessie Hutchinson believes it is not fair because she was picked.

The villagers do not know why the lottery continues to exist. All they know is that it is a tradition they are not willing to abandon. In “The Lottery,” Jackson portrays three main themes including tradition, treason, and violence. The main theme in Jackson’s “The Lottery” is tradition. Jackson conveys tradition as the main theme thought the story. “The people had done it so many times that they only half listened to the directions; most of them were quiet, wetting their lips, not looking around. ” (966). The author suggests the people of the village have been playing the lottery for several years.

The people had done is so many times… they only half listened to the directions” suggests that the people of the village have played the lottery so many times that they only half listened to the directions. Jackson also suggests that the people of the village are anxious to take part in their annual tradition. “Most… were quiet, wetting their lips, not looking around. ” Another theme within this story is treason. “”It isn’t fair, it isn’t right,”” (969). This suggests that Tessie Hutchinson has become rebellious toward the tradition she grew up with. “it isn’t right,” suggests that Hutchinson believes the lottery is wrong.

She also believes her odds of getting the piece of paper with the black dot on it were against her and she did not have a fair chance. “It isn’t fair,” Violence is also a very important theme in Jackson’s “The Lottery. ” “”It isn’t fair,” she said. A stone hit her on the side of the head. ” (969). Jackson is showing her audience that the stoning has begun. “”It isn’t fair… a stone hit her” suggests that Tessie Hutchinson believes that the lottery is not fair. It also suggests that the villagers show no mercy for her and continue on with the stoning until she was killed.

Jackson’s “The Lottery,” demonstrates how violent some traditions may be. In many cultures today, traditions still exist like the lottery. People throughout the world dedicate their entire lives to their traditional heritage. Although some people may disagree with many culture’s traditions, almost everyone has their own traditions that they take part in throughout their lives. “The Lottery” is a prime example of how violent and inhuman some traditions may be. This story demonstrates how committed and faithful many people are to their traditional heritage.

Even when they are being forced to commit a cruel and inhuman act, many people would rather die than go against their traditions. In the story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, a tradition of murder is accepted as part of tradition instead of being frowned upon.

In this article, I will be focusing on how much influence many people have in their culture when it comes to maintaining traditional practices even when they know that certain practices may be harmful or dangerous and aimed to hurt and destroy others.

Many cultures throughout history have had traditions that were unjust and unfair towards certain groups within society; however, through time these practices began to fade away due to the pressure from various groups becoming outlawed. Some examples of such injustices include slavery (forced labor) and women being considered as a lower class in society due to the fact that they were unable to vote or own property. On the other hand, traditions such as marriage throughout history have been an important aspect of life since it symbolized a bond between two people and them joining their families together through the process of procreation (children).

Marriage was not only something that brought two people together but also allowed them to join their family name and wealth by having children. This is why throughout history social classes were determined by one’s bloodline; because you got your status from your father (patrilineal system). In traditional Filipino culture, there are several forms of marriage such as: monogamy, bigamy, levirate, and sororate.

“By law a man who divorces his wife shall pay her the customary marriage gift if they were married in a monogamous system. If they were married in a bigamous system, he must pay half of the dowry that was paid for her. If a woman divorces her husband she shall receive back whatever he gave her as a marriage gift (De Ocampo).” This is an example of how tradition can be passed down through generations within Filipino culture; mainly because it allows for newlyweds to keep their marital property separate from their families by giving them gifts that would remain under their own instead of having both new spouses pooling all their wealth together.

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