How does Shirley Jackson's story "The Lottery" expose some deep and terrifying flaw?

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jackson's chilling short story "The Lottery" uses an overly exaggerated ritual of stoning to point out the possible risks in narrow-minded thinking in combination with following tradition blindly.  The people in the small town in the story continue to participate in a blood-thirsty and violent ritual, and even though many of them clearly fear and loathe the lottery system, the lottery continues to be practiced.  Jackson's story challenges the reader to look at why certain practices in society are still accepted.  The idea of tradition for tradition's sake can lead people to make choices and endorse practices with which they do not necessarily agree.  The 'mob mentality' is another flaw exposed in the story.  Many of the seemingly good townspeople carry out cold-blooded murder because its what everyone else expects them to do.

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The Lottery

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