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Morals and Values in The Lottery

In shirley Jackson’s, “The Lottery”, human morals and values are thrown away all for the pride of winning something. What is it that they really win? When you win the lottery in this story, you actually win death by stoning. Isn’t that ironic, people actually being competitive and getting excited about death in public. What morals or values do these people really have, and how are they different from what common society is thought today? The first to gather in the square on the day of the lottery are the children.

The children, sweet, innocent children who do not know any better and are only taking part in this cruelty because they view it as a fun game. Then the adults begin to gather in the square. They are older and wiser, knowing what is to become of that one invididual whose name is drawn. They know of the agony that awaits them, but they have been taught to believe in it, sot ehy continue to participate even if it means they are the chosen one.

These adults are so caught up in tradition that they do not see that it is morally wrong to kill a man. These are innocent people, dying for what they think is right. The main characters in this story also exhibit these same characteristics. Somewhere deep inside they have got to know the difference between right and wrong, but for traditions sake, they continue the stoning process. The black box symbolized tradition verses progress. The towns people are repressed and can’t grow because of the killing tradition.

The story also has a literal conflict as Tessie Hutchinson is complaining about the cruelity and injustice, then the crime turns around and happens to her This woman’s small child is even taught the tradition when he throws pebbles at his mother. These people were involved in every day society and in church, yet they took it upon themselved to kill one another. In today’s society the actions taken in this story would have been considered morally wrong and punishment for committing these crimes would be handed down by the court system.

The judicial system of today would punish them with incarceration or death by leathal injection. This legal system was actually illegal, more of a marshal law. These people were ruling themselves. The best example is Mr. Summers, he made it a happy gathering, conducted all the civil activities, and then was also the executioner. He brings with all his justice and ruling, death. The purpose of the lottery is to weed out the people and learn the cycle of life is to accept democracy. I feel that Shirley Jacson did an excellent job in identifying the injustice of this story.

Although I personally do not agree with the killing of innocent people or any type of marshal rule. This story makes you think about what is important in your life and how to respect what you have in this world. It makes you think about what you have learned as a child growing up and what you know is right and wrong. The story does a great job in making you realize the meaning of church and religion in your everyday life as well as the legal system. We as humans all do things without questioning, but don’t put your faith in human hands.

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