The Lottery by Shirley Jackson Essay
The practice of traditional community beliefs in the society were held with high regards. This is regardless the inhumane nature of the practices. Sacrifices were offered with an objective of pleasing the gods. In return a community would hope for blessings of good fortune. However, the practices were appreciated by all people until it directly affected them. For instance, people chosen for human sacrifices would openly criticize the practice but embraced it before it directly affected them. From a general perspective, the practices in traditional communities against human life were unnecessary and based on beliefs that disregarded the value of human life. The same theme and events are displayed The Lottery.
In the Lottery, Mrs. Hutchinson is stoned to mark start of the farming season and a sacrifice to get good harvest. However, the woman cites unfairness in her selection to be sacrificed for the sake of the community. Regardless of her pleas, she is executed as the villagers believe that the sacrifice will ensure good harvest. The execution is done in the most brutal way. She killed by stoning by her community (Jackson 7). This depicted the disregard of human life in the community. Moreover, the community valued the assumption that a successful harvest is determined by the human sacrifice. This can be supported by the chants made at the events where a man shouted that, after the sacrifice corn would be heavy in June (Jackson 4). Was the sacrifice necessary? Does the sacrifice made ensure the success of the community?
The story is set in June; a period when the fields are fertile as flowers blossom and the vegetation is green (Jackson 1). Regardless of this beauty, the community is preparing for the lottery yearly event. The lottery is an event that is used to pick a person that would be sacrificed to ensure good corn harvest. The lottery is done by all families and person above the age of 16. The number of families is represented by paper slips placed in a box. From all the papers, there is one paper market with a black spot. After the family draw, the family that picked the paper with a black spot has to give someone up for sacrifice. The family members are then drawn. Blank papers and one spotted paper are placed in a box with exact number of family members. Each family member then picks a paper (Jackson 3). The person who picks the paper with a black spot is chosen for sacrifice. The sacrifice is made through stoning to death. Every person in the community is eligible for the lottery especially for children below the age of 16. In addition the stoning is a community affair as a sign of good fortune. The practice was, however, inhumane and based on beliefs that could not be proven. However, the success of their harvest was based on whether they carried out the sacrifice.
In this particular season, the same practices were embraced. The less populated village of 300 people is excited about the lottery. Children gathered stones that could be used for the ceremony as adults gather to take part in the annual event. Mr. Summer and Mr. Graves are villager elders and have the responsibility prepare paper slips that would be used in the ceremony. The preparation of the slips was done and they were put in a box. The box is then put to safety in a coal company until then could be used for the next day. This depicts the ignorant nature of community. However, they are willing to sacrifice their life for the good of the community. This eliminates the fear that they would be selected.
At the event, a huge crown is gathered to take part in the practice. Everyone is in a happy mood until they black box is presented and each family has to pick a paper slip. However, the crown is chanting praises to the practices as the cited Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon (Jackson 4). All family heads pick up slips. On this day, Bill Hutchinson picks the paper with a black spot. Other families in the crowd are relieved. On the other hand, Mrs. Hutchinson is furious that her husband was not provided with enough time to pick a slip (Jackson 5). She calls the exercise unfair. However, the exercise continues and to her disbelief she picks the spotted paper from the family draw. The crowd shouts for her to accept the punishment. Her husband presents her to the people for execution. The crowed surround her as she pleads to them that the exercise was not fair to her family. She is, however, killed as by the community with the stones gathered by the children (Jackson 7). At this point, the relationship between executers and the person selected for sacrifice is not a problem. Regardless of this relationship, it required that they take part in the stoning event. In addition, the practice is viewed as a norm and as a religious practice; this eliminates the guilt that the executioners may develop from their actions.
From the story, one may affirm that the morality of the community of questionable. The practice and beliefs leading to stoning may not justify the disregard of human life. In addition, Mrs. Hutchinson is not content with her execution which questions the purity of the sacrifice. Moreover, the harvest expected may not be influenced by the human sacrifice made since other communities in the area shun the exercise.
Jackson, Shirley. The Lottery. 23 Jan. 2005. Web. 29 Aug. 2014.