Shirley Jackson issues a warning to be an independent thinker in her story “The Lottery.” Everyone goes along with the lottery merely because it is a tradition. No one ever thinks about what is really happening—each year they are killing one of their loved ones.
People gather on what seems to be an ordinary sunny day: the men discuss crops and taxes, the women gossip, and the children “broke into boisterous play.” There is no indication that anything terrible is about to happen. The lottery is an annual tradition, with specific rituals observed. It happens on June 27, Mr. Summers oversees it, a specific box is used to hold the slips of paper. The box is falling apart, but although people talk about replacing it, “no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box.” The town is heavily influenced by custom. No one evaluates the true purpose and the effect of the lottery.
In fact, the purpose of this particular tradition should be discussed so that...
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