The Lottery Analysis
The passage of a message to society takes different perspectives as the short story The Lottery by Shirley Jackson shows. Written in June and published the same month of the year 1948, the story is about an annual ritual that happens in a small village. At first, the story does not give the direction, and it is only at the end that one gets to understand that the lottery is about the chosen family. The family that picks a paper that has a black spot is assumed to be chosen after which the member chosen is killed. In the story, Bill Hutchison first picks the paper, but the wife, Tessie claims there is no fairness. When the second round is undertaken, where everybody participates, Tessie picks the marked paper and is subsequently stoned to death. In this paper, the position taken about the story is that the conflict, setting, and symbolism suggest a theme of cultural slavery.
From the short story, it clear that the villagers are extensively bound, in fact, enslaved, by the traditions. For instance, a suggestion by Mr. Summers to replace the black box due to its shabby condition goes ignored mainly because of fear. Apparently, the original box was lost, but nobody would dare make a new one, as there is a fear of reprisals. Surprisingly, there is no sign or indication or warning that doing so would bring about the dreaded results (Jackson p.3). While this tendency is indicated in this fictional story, the practice is an every-day occurrence. Wheat (p.180) claimed that some cultures or religions subject followers to needless rituals which are both baseless and meaningless. In order to ensure adherence, religious or cultural leaders instill fear.
Slavery in the story is not limited to the reluctance to change the black box; needless and random persecutions too. Worth noting is that the so-called chosen family is, first, killed simply to fulfill a ritual, not because of any transgression. Secondly, there is no fairness in the methodology used in the chosen method; in fact, it is a lottery. Further, the setting of the story proves clearly that the villagers are deeply enslaved. For instance, the children are tasked with the gathering of stones to be used in the persecution. In addition, the conflict is actually, a non-existent issue because there is nothing wrong or against the culture that the dying person has committed.
The depth of mental slavery in this society is just horrendous and unbelievable as evidenced by the actions of the family member. Prior to the drawing of the papers, the family remains united, but once the chosen one is identified, the same family members turn chaotic. A case in point is when Tessie is identified as the chosen one where, surprisingly, the husband is the first one cast the stone. Worse still, the children follow suit fully aware they are stoning the mother. This kind of brainwash is rampant in the societies where authority figures are never questioned (Scherger p.23; Lalich p.25). In the story, Mrs. Adams mentions to Oldman Warner that some societies have shunned the practice, to which the latter terms them as, “pack of young fools” 9ghhh. Clearly, this story, though short, highlights the amount of sacrifice some societies go just preserve cruel, meaningless and outdated cultures.
Jackson, Shirley. ‘Https://Sites.Middlebury.Edu/…/Jackson_Lottery.Pdf’. Middlebury College.N.p., 1948. Web. 27 June 2015.;
Lalich, Janja. Bounded Choice. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004. Print.;
Scherger, Simone. ‘Cultural Practices, Age And The Life Course’. Cultural Trends 18.1 (2009): 23-45.;
Wheat, David. ‘Ordinary Lives In The Early Caribbean: Religion, Colonial Competition, And The Politics Of Profit’. Slavery & Abolition 35.2 (2013): 380-381.