What are the complications and the crisis in the "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the major complications in the story is the idea of the tyranny of the majority.  The most horrifying aspect of Jackson's work is that this peaceful and very civilized community can engage in the targeting stoning of one of its own.  The ritualized practice of the town "selects" one individual who will be isolated and treated with the utmost of cruelty.  This is probably one of the largest complications within the story because the will of the community subsumes the autonomy of the chosen individual.  At some point and level, the sense of empathy in the community departs and a vicious sense of cruel actions result.  This creates complications as individuals are held completely hostage by these social notions of the good, and create a large sense of disquietude as a result of the work's conclusion.