Based on the event & details in "The Lottery," what is the argument the author seems to be making about the social contract?

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

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I think that Jackson is making a pretty strong statement against the social contract in the short story.  The social contract is the understanding that the community and the government share in the general will, in the same conception of the good.  Jackson's story reflects how this can be twisted to suppress the rights of individuals.  In this light, Jackson seems to be arguing that there should be some type of individual entitlements that can supersede the general will in the event it is wrong.  The "tradition" of the people in the village is an exercise in brutality.  Yet, the general will is evident in that community and political structure both endorse this heinous act.  In the end, it is this point that Jackson seems to be making in the name of the general will.  If the community and political leadership is wrong, Jackson seems to be asking where individuals will turn to find some level of sanctuary or relief.

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