What are examples of conformity and rebellion in Jackson's "The Lottery" that I could use for research paper prompts and thesis statements?

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," the village members largely conform to the practice of the lottery because the villagers have done so for generations. Characters like Old Man Warner are symbolic of the older generation that clings without question to practices that may not continue to be beneficial for the community. Tessie, however, is the outlier in the story: she arrives to the lottery drawing late, and she is ultimately the one who ends up drawing the black spot that signifies her death. Tessie's rebellion prompts the reader to question the role of tradition and whether people should blindly follow traditional practices or revise them to suit the development of culture over time. Jackson's story may be read as an allegory, so research into the cultural practices of groups of people may provide a context for analyzing "The Lottery."

meganrachelclark | Student

There are many examples of conformity and rebellion in The Lottery. The story is about a town that hosts an annual "lottery" for population control. Even though nearly every member of the society knows that stoning someone to death is probably wrong, they all conform as it is an accepted form of control by the government. 

Even the children in the society are okay with the lottery. In the beginning of the story, you hear about two young kids trying to pick the biggest rock around the lot to use. The reader is not told why they are looking for the biggest rock until the end of the narrative, but we see that even the kids conform to the lottery. Children imitate their parents because they think that is what is acceptable. Children see their parents and friends' parents stoning one random person year after year and that begins to become normal to them. 

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The Lottery

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