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In this story, people are reluctant to reject outdated traditions, ideas, rules, laws,...

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rockne1932 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted May 22, 2009 at 2:12 AM via web

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In this story, people are reluctant to reject outdated traditions, ideas, rules, laws, and practices. Can you give me some examples of this?

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jlcannad | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted May 22, 2009 at 2:33 AM (Answer #1)

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There are many examples of the town's unwillingness to change.  During the lottery itself, Mr. Adams makes the comment that some towns have given up the lottery.  The oldest member of the town, Old Man Warner, very quickly replies, "Next thing you know, they'll be wanting to go back to living in caves, nobody work any more, live that way for a while."  But this is hardly the only case.  The box that the lottery papers are in was made with "some pieces of the box that had preceded it," suggesting that these people are not even willing to throw a box away when it's worn and has served it's purpose.   In fact, even when their customs are impractical, they have trouble letting go.  It was only Mr. Summers who finally convinced people to stop using chips of wood.  There were too many people in town for such a cumbersome system, but he had to convince them to give up a system that was clearly inappropriate.

This love for custom and the past is also seen in the characterization.  The women are dressed in old fashioned clothing, "faded house dresses and sweaters."  The children's games seem reminiscent of a past time.  While this conjures images of innocence, it also shows that these people are not ever quick to change.

And the ultimate example is the ceremony itself.  The following quote is from the site I linked below.

The people of the village continue to take part in the lottery even though they cannot remember certain aspects of the ritual, such as the "tuneless chant" and the "ritual salute," simply because the event has been held for so long that these aspects have been lost to time.

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