How does Shirley Jackson use the concept of "The Lottery" to critique those who mindlessly conform to tradition?

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Shirley Jackson's short story "The Lottery " is about a town that does an annual lottery to determine who should be stoned to death. The morbid ending is definitely a twist for readers, who are tricked into thinking that the lottery gathering is a fun, festive annual tradition....

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Shirley Jackson's short story "The Lottery" is about a town that does an annual lottery to determine who should be stoned to death. The morbid ending is definitely a twist for readers, who are tricked into thinking that the lottery gathering is a fun, festive annual tradition. It turns out that the lottery is neither fun nor festive; however, it is a tradition that the people of the town do year after year without knowing exactly why they do it. This is confirmed in a brief conversation involving Old Man Warner, who hints that the lottery used to have something to do with the corn harvest. Even the old man of the town doesn't know the true reason the lottery process began, but he adamantly supports the notion of doing the lottery for no other reason than following tradition. Mr. Adams mentions that some towns are giving up the lottery, and Old Man Warner flatly states that those people are fools.

The story forces readers to have to wrestle with who exactly are the foolish people. Is it the people that give up tradition, or is it the people that continue to follow a tradition that is clearly amoral, evil, pointless, and outdated? The entire story calls for readers to examine traditions and question whether or not the traditions are still valuable or if they are being followed for no other reason than to follow the historical precedent.

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