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What are the themes and point of "The Lottery"?I don't understand the story...

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dchbowen4life | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 3, 2008 at 7:59 AM via web

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What are the themes and point of "The Lottery"?

I don't understand the story at all please explain to me the entire lottery system; I'm confused.

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luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted January 3, 2008 at 8:20 AM (Answer #1)

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Follow the link below for an excellent explanation of the major themes involved in Shirley Jackson's short story.  One of the first themes to emerge from this story is the one of senseless violence.  There is no purpose in the villagers taking part in the lottery.  It isn't a lottery in the way we think of them today: as something in which to take part in order to have a chance of winning money or a prize.  The villagers in this story only continue to have the lottery because it is tradition which leads to another theme:  the utter pointlessness of following a tradition that no longer makes sense.  This also leads to another theme and that is one expressing mob mentality.  The people of the village have no quarrel with one another and certainly no quarrel with the woman whose name is drawn in the lottery, but they quickly and savagely turn on her as if she were a long-time enemy.


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