The Lottery by Shirley Jackson Analysis Essay

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson Analysis Essay
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The lottery written by Shirley Jackson is regarded as one of the best short stories to have ever been written in American history, the story deals with a barbaric tradition of stoning people to death and Tessie the central character of the story succumbs to her injuries. This paper will shed light upon the short story; key elements will be comprehensively analyzed.

Human nature is presented in the lottery, the barbaric tradition of stone throwing just never stops, this goes to show that human beings refrain from standing up against something which they consider inappropriate. No one stood up to save Tessie; she was killed after winning the lottery. The jumping of human beings on the bandwagon is also another important theme of this short story; we usually tend to do what others are doing. We join them regardless of the consequences; this is very shameful and should never be done. Stone throwing has been presented as a tradition in the story.

“It seems as though we sometimes condemn everyday truths that we know are characteristics of most people, including ourselves, and being afraid to admit them, place the spotlight on someone else. It is sad and definitely hypocritical, but it happens all the time. And I think Shirley Jackson makes this point without having to say a word about it. It is the thousands of readers who replied to “The Lottery”, in disapproval and horror that blindly proved Jackson’s theories valid and unknowingly portrayed themselves as not very unlike the villagers in the short story.” (Analysis of the Lottery)

The lottery was written when there was a lot of chaos in the world, it was written during the Second World War and the holocaust. It draws several parallels to Nazi Germany. Hitler controlled Germany and established a firm control over the country, his racist views were forced upon people and the anti-social people who refused to comply with his ideology got the treatment that they deserved. Similarly, when Tessie wins the lottery and the people were about to throw stones at her, she said “it is not fair” she repeated the same line again trying to dissuade the people but they did not listen and she was killed.

Cruelty is another element which is very common between the Nazis and the villagers in the lottery, Nazis slaughtered the anti-social people without thinking twice so did that villagers in the lottery, these comparisons show extreme brutality.

Countless Jews were slaughtered in Germany, the Germans did object to it but they just mumbled about it and it made absolutely no difference, the same happens in the lottery, there are instances of mumbling in the story but no one sands up to put an end to the barbaric tradition.

“After executing a woman by stoning, the townspeople will go home to eat lunch or go back to work as if nothing out of the ordinary has happened. The first paragraph says, “The whole lottery took less than two hours, so it could begin at ten o’clock in the morning and still be through in time to allow the villagers to get home for noon dinner.” The tenth paragraph says, “Well, now,” Mr. Summers said soberly, “guess we better get started, get this over with, so we can go back to work.” (The Lottery)


The paper threw light upon how the people jump on the bandwagon; they do what others have been doing. They do mumble when they feel that there is something wrong which is going to happen but they do not take concrete steps to prevent it from happening. A classic example of the same is the Nazis slaughtering the Jews in Germany, Hitler did what he wanted to do and no one protested because they feared that his army may kill them similarly Tessie who won the lottery gets killed for no fault of hers. The fact is that people are reluctant to stand up and put a barbaric tradition to an end.

Boys gathering stones and pebbles, speaks volumes about how a tradition gets passed on, the innocent boys knew very little about what they were doing, similarly Hitler brainwashed the Nazis and ran riot killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

“The editors at The New Yorker were taken aback when Jackson submitted “The Lottery,” but they also appreciated its literary virtues. In the end, the decision to accept it was one vote shy of unanimous.” (Winning the Lottery)

To conclude it is very fair to say that people must start standing up and resisting anything which is not right, it has already started happening but it should keep happening because something which is unfair remains unfair no matter how many people support and follow it.

Works Cited
Analysis of the Lottery. Associated Content. n.p., Web. 31 July. 2011.
The Lottery. A Study Guide. n.p., Web. 31 July. 2011.
Winning the Lottery. Story Books for Children. n.p., Web. 31 July. 2011.