Can you support......Q1) Can you support a claim  that this story is presented from the objective point of view? Why is the dispassionate, master-of-fact tone of the story so effective?Q2) By...

Can you support......

Q1) Can you support a claim  that this story is presented from the objective point of view? Why is the dispassionate, master-of-fact tone of the story so effective?

Q2) By transporting a primitivistic ritual into a modern setting, the story reveals something about human nature and human society. What? 

Q3) What is significance of the fact that the original has been lost and many parts of the ritual have been forgotten? Can you find a statement in the story that most likely explains the original purpose of the ritual? What does the black box symbolize?

Asked on by hannahmon

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sagetrieb's profile pic

sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

By remaining dispassionate and objective, the narrator assumes the tone (which is the attitude of the writer to her subject matter) that most of the town displays toward the ritual. The exception is Tess, who's attitude changes significantly after she is chosen.

The story reveals how easily a group of people will act in the name of tradition rather than trying to do what is right. We accept violent, ritualistic behavior in people we would call "uncivilized," but we believe civilization cleanses humans of such tendencies by the forces of guilt if nothing else. This causes us to ask ourselves what do we now do out of thinking "it's always been done that way" rather than because it is right. And, this also reveals the power of mob rule, where all follows the crowd, which many psychologists have agreed is a human tendency despite philosophers warning against this.

"Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon" is the saying handed down over generations as the reason for the lottery. Its original purpose seems to have been to function as a fertility ritual, a sort of sacrifice "to the gods" to increase agricultural productivity.  That the original black box is gone and details have been forgotten signifies the ritual is no longer pertinent and people do it out of habit.  The blackness of the box symbolizes the evil nature of it. Some Marxist critics consider "the box" a locus of power held by the ruling group in the town.

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