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What would be a good thesis statement for an argumentative essay on the customs (or...

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tofer030 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 20, 2011 at 5:16 AM via web

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What would be a good thesis statement for an argumentative essay on the customs (or traditions) in "The Lottery"?

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

Posted March 20, 2011 at 7:25 AM (Answer #1)

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Much of this is going to be dependent on what has been taken away from the short story as the most meaningful elements.  On one hand, I think that an interesting take on customs or traditions can be how they can operate as pretenses for abuse.  The village tradition or ritual is a veil for abuse and cruelty.  Jackson's short story resonates when contrasted with other traditions that are not questioned nor repudiated after analysis and reflection.  Consider the reaction of Old Man Warner when confronted with the idea of removing the lottery:

During the time it takes to complete the drawing, Mr. Adams notes that some towns have started to talk about doing away with the lottery. Old Man Warner, participating in his seventy-seventh lottery, snorts at the idea and says that would only cause trouble.

I think an interesting exploration would be of how tradition sometimes becomes accepted without question or thought.  In this process, tradition can become a pretense for abuse perpetrated at the hands of one person or a group of people over a silenced voice.

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