The Horror Of The Lottery By Shirley Jackson

1405 words - 6 pages

Winning vast amounts of money can make anyone slaphappy, but unfortunately this type of wager won’t be discussed in Shirley Jacksons “The Lottery.” Jackson catches the reader’s attention by describing a typical day by using words such as “blossoming, clear and sunny skies” to attract the reader into believing a calm and hopeful setting which eventually turns dark. In this short story Jackson tells a tale of a sinister and malevolent town in America that conforms to the treacherous acts of murder in order to keep their annual harvest tradition alive. Jackson exposes the monstrosity of people within this society in this chilling tale. She allows the reader’s to ponder and lead them to believe that the lottery is actually a good thing; till she implements foreshadowing, to hint at the dreadfulness behind the lottery and its meaning. My goal in this paper is to discuss why Jackson’s “The Lottery” is a portrayed as a horror story, and the importance the townspeople used to glorify ritualistic killings, to appease to an unseeable force in return of good harvest for the upcoming year.
To follow through I will discuss the importance Jackson placed on the protagonist Tessie Hutchinson. She was seen as someone who is consumed by hypocrisy and weakness. Mrs. Hutchinson is aware that the lottery is wrong but does nothing to eradicate it or stand on her own. To her demise the lottery’s lesson is that the more artificial you are, the more of a target you become. Sadly the lottery became the death of Mrs. Hutchinson, when she was chosen as the winner of the annual event.
To start, Shirley Jackson speaks about the importance of the black box and the relevance it has on the townspeople. The black box is seen as a symbol of fear and subservience. Within the story it states that “the original paraphernalia for the lottery had been lost long ago, and the black box now resting on the stool which had been put into use before Old Man Warner.” “Mr. Summers spoke frequently to the villagers about making a new box, but no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box.” (Anthology 246) The people in this town are so focused on not disturbing tradition that they allow their submissiveness and obsession to stop them from questioning any part of it. Apparently they are so accustomed of having things static that it would be impractical to persuade them to wander away from it.
For Old Man Warner the lottery was a tradition he wanted to keep in the town forever. Conspicuously he was all for it. When questioned by Mr. Adams about other town’s disposal of the lottery he referred to them as “Pack of crazy fools.” (Anthology 246) As a reader I wonder why Old Man Warner was so actively involved in this tradition. Why he himself was never chosen as winner of the lottery. Whilst reading, I assumed that his role was probably linked to agricultural ties, since he feels that where there is crops there is prosperity within the community. Old Man...

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