How is bullying like stoning someone in "The Lottery"?The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Bullying and stoning have some things in common: peer pressure and the mob mentality.  In “The Lottery” the villagers seem to behave like sheep.  They do what they do because they have always done it.  Peer pressure and bullying work the same way.  Have you ever noticed that people tend to get picked on, generate generation, for the same reasons?  Peer pressure is the status quo.

The original paraphernalia for the lottery had been lost long ago, and the black box now resting on the stool had been put into use even before Old Man Warner, the oldest man in town, was born. Mr. Summers spoke frequently to the villagers about making a new box, but no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box.

Tessie does not seem like the most popular kid.  She might have been bullied by the other kids.  We know that Tessie does not fit in because Tessie is told to “shut up” and “be a good sport” whereas the group of girls was worried about Nancy when her turn came.

Tessie Hutchinson was in the center of a cleared space by now, and she held her hands out desperately as the villagers moved in on her. "It isn't fair," she said. A stone hit her on the side of the head. Old Man Warner was saying, "Come on, come on, everyone." Steve Adams was in the front of the crowd of villagers, with Mrs. Graves beside him.

Everyone participates, because everyone always has.  As with peer pressure, the mob mentality kicks in and everyone does what everyone else is doing.  Jackson highlights humankind's capacity to victimize others by having friends and family participate in Tessie's killing. (enotes themes)

Read the study guide:
The Lottery

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