What does the story imply about family loyalties? Support your opinion from the story.

1 Answer | Add Yours

herappleness's profile pic

M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In the story "The Lottery", Shirley Jackson treats the topic of family loyalties by addressing how the aspect of "community" has the power of binding together people of all kinds of different backgrounds. Yet, the unity of people constitutes power, a power that can harm many if it is left unchecked, unquestioned, and misguided by the wrong social rules. 

The loyalty that the families display in "The Lottery" denote their deeply-rooted sense of community. The village is made of families that have known each other for a long time. They have grown together and developed together. They have also established the customs and traditions that make them all unique, and strong, as a group.

[...]but in this village, where there were only about three hundred people, the whole lottery took less than two hours, so it could begin at ten o'clock in the morning and still be through in time to allow the villagers to get home for noon dinner.

The lottery is one of those strong customs that make the villagers feel as if they are part of a "group" with a sense of mission and direction.

The lottery was conducted--as were the square dances, the teen club, the Halloween program--by Mr. Summers. who had time and energy to devote to civic activities

When the idea of questioning the practice comes up, it is this strong sense of community that keeps the practice alive, even when "other" villages have ceased to perform it. This is what shows how loyal these families are to a practice that, though gruesome, constitutes the backbone of their community identity.

"They do say," Mr. Adams said to Old Man Warner, who stood next to him, "that over in the north village they're talking of giving up the lottery." Old Man Warner snorted. "Pack of crazy fools," he said.[...]There's always been a lottery," he added petulantly.

These instances, combined with the no-nonsense determination of each villager to take part of the lottery, help us understand exactly how courageous the simple statement that Tessie makes really is

It isn't fair, it isn't right.

By questioning the system, Tessie directly challenges the status quo and puts into a delicate line the relationship between community and loyalty. It is through Tessie's seemingly simple statement that these loyalties are often questioned, but remain unheard by her fanatic society.

 

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,926 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question