Identify an example from the short story that shows when people don't follow their own moral code they leave themselves open to the consequences.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the question hits at exactly what Jackson wishes to say. There is no moral code that is being followed in the village.  This is exactly the problem.  People have set aside their moral code in the name of socially accepted tradition and that which is seen as accepted by others.  When Tessie screams out that "It isn't fair" and "It isn't right," she is only doing so because she is threatened.  Her moral code of fairness is not articulated when she is engaged in small talk with Mrs. Delacroix and Mr. Summers.  There is excitement to be a part of this tradition, even though she knows exactly where this is going.  The challenge that Jackson issues to the reader is that when there is an absence of a moral code, individuals find themselves in a precarious position of operating without a sense of right or wrong to guide them and their actions.  Precisely because no one speaks out in accordance to a moral code does what happen happen.  If individuals had their own moral code and were able to activate it, perhaps the lottery would be stopped.  When the young person speaks to Old Man Warner about how other towns have stopped the lottery, it is a hope of a moral code emerging, something that Old Man Warner himself dismisses with his own upholding of tradition without a moral code.  Jackson wishes to make it clear that bad things cannot be far behind when individuals lose their own adherence to a moral code in the ability to speak out against what is wrong and unjust.  Jackson wishes to construct a social setting precisely where the reader understands the primal importance of a moral code and adhering to it.


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