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In Shirley Jackson's short story, "The Lottery," how is the resistance to change depicted?

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nikhilnair93 | Student, Undergraduate

Posted March 28, 2012 at 11:06 AM via web

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In Shirley Jackson's short story, "The Lottery," how is the resistance to change depicted?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 28, 2012 at 2:13 PM (Answer #1)

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When I think of the phrase "resistance to change," I automatically think of two different sections of this brilliant and chilling short story. The first is the section where Old Man Warner is talking about the Lottery and how disgusted he is with other communities for abolishing the lottery. What is so interesting about Old Man Warner is that he equates dispensing with tradition as something that will automatically take people backwards rather than forwards:

Next thing you know, they'll be wanting ot back to living in caves, nobody work any more, live that way for a while. 

Old Man Warner is one of the characters that Jackson uses explicitly to voice the resistance to change and how, erroneously, stopping the Lottery is equated with "eating stewed chickweed and acorns." 

The other most powerful symbol of resistance to change in my mind comes at the end of the story. This is when Mrs. Delacroix, who has been chatting to Tessie as a friend throughout the entire story, suddenly is so keen to kill her that she picks up a stone that is so large she "had to pick it up with both hands." The raw power of tradition to override friendships and normal human bonds of love is shown at its strongest, and this is a key example of resistance to change in the way that Mrs. Delacroix never for one moment stops or considers what she is doing or whether she should do anything differently in her rush to kill her friend. 

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nikhilnair93 | Student, Undergraduate

Posted March 29, 2012 at 5:40 AM (Answer #2)

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Thank you accessteaher. I didn't even realize the second point you made! Thanks again :)

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