Describe the concept of how members of society blindly follow the tradition in The Lottery.

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amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The townspeople in The Lottery follow a tradition they've had for as long as anyone can remember the same way the Capulets and the Montagues or the Hatfields and the McCoys continue their family feuds for reasons no one can remember.

Tradition is comfortable.  "It is the way things have always been done and nothing's going to change that" as the old man in the story strongly states.  It's the reason women wear white instead of red for their wedding gowns and why people put up Christmas trees the day after Thanksgiving.  It's why so many hypocrits attend church on Sundays.  Tradition is what they've always known, and what everyone else does.

It takes less energy to go with the flow and do something because that's the way it has always been done than it does to challenge it and push for change.  The young people timidly mention that other towns have done away with the lottery...they don't boldly state it in front of everyone.  They blindly follow because the leaders of their community say that's what to do.

Lots of Democrats and/or Republicans vote straight party lines in election's easier to depend on that "tradition" than it is to listen to each candidate and vote according to the person the voter thinks will serve the community as a whole in the best possible way.

We all blindly follow just have to find what yours is and then ask yourself the same question you've posted here.


renelane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The village is so accustomed to the lottery that few challenge the validity of it. There are those who discuss other villages discontinuing the tradition of the lottery, yet most oppose this idea. This can only be explained by the fact that since they have never known anything else, they are frightened by change. It is ironic that they fear change, in light of the fact that this change would eliminate the senseless deaths of its members.

Children are a prime example of how the tradition has desensitized the people in the village. Children do not fear or question the practice, and in fact continue to play near the sight of the stoning. They do not know of a time that this was not an event in their community, and they do not think anything of it.

The customs and traditions associated with the lottery are resistant to change, as well. The box in which the names are drawn is falling apart, yet when anyone makes a suggestion of replacing it, the subject is always dropped and forgotten. The people in the village do not want to deviate in any way from the traditions they know.

teacherscribe eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Old Man Warner best represents how blindly the villagers follow the tradition.  He gives us a possible explanation for the lottery, "Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon," as if it once was part of a fertility rite or something.  He tells the younger villagers, who mention that some other towns have quiet holding such lotteries, that there has always been a lottery.  To quit the lottery, Old Man Warner seems to believe, would be a major step back for the villagers.  He obviously fails to see the barbaric nature of the lottery.  He never questions it; he just blindly follows along.  Jackson is obviously using him to represent the dangers of blindly following traditions.