What traditions are embodied in everyday lives that go unquestioned, in regards to "The Lottery?"

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Shirley Jackson's short story "The Lottery" can force some to question what things happen in life which go unchallenged. Although many places no longer partake in human sacrifices, some of the other actions in the story still take place (and go unquestioned).

First, men are still (for the most part) recognized as the head of the household in many nations. This is seen when the men are called up to draw for their family, prior to the individuals within the family drawing. Therefore, as tradition has stated, men are primarily recognized as the head of the household.

Second, not only is the man recognized as the head of the household, the man of the family is typically recognized as having the last word when it comes to conflicting ideas within the family. When Tessie begins to argue the fairness of the lottery, Bill tells his wife to "shut up." At this point, Tessie succumbs to her husbands authority.

Lastly, not only are men recognized as the head of the household, they are typically the ones who run the political aspects of community life. This is seen by the running of the lottery by Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves. Not only are they responsible for the conducting of the lottery, they are also responsible keeping the "paraphernalia" in between lotteries.


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