Exactly what in the story makes Jackson's attitude towards the lottery clear to us?  

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

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I think that recognizing the time period in which Jackson writes her short story is critical.  On one hand, Jackson is writing in the time period in which she has seen the Nazis, the Soviet brand of Communism taking over, as well as the rise of McCarthyism on the domestic realm.  Jackson is extremely aware of how the community can terrorize the individual.  These historical events indicated this to her and was mindful of this in her writing.  In the short story, it is this dimension that is evident.  The stacking of stones by the children in the beginning, as well as the small and timid voices that bring about the idea of wishing for change, silenced by the voice of Old Man Warner who affirms tradition.  The fact that Mrs. Delacroix, Tessie's closest friend, runs to find the biggest rock to throw when Tessie's name is pulled.  Consider the ending of the story when the "semi- circle" envelops Tessie, as well.  This is a symbolic image of how Jackson sees "the lottery" as the terror of the community against the rights of the individual.  This image of the lone voice standing in the center of an encroaching semi- circle is a powerful one, and one that conveys Jackson's ultimate belief of how she sees the lottery.


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