what is the message by trivializing the treatment of the charactersthat it is acceptable to treat others this way.  

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Perhaps, Jackson points to how desensitized to violent acts people become when these acts are accepted by a society. Written after World War II, "The Lottery" mimicks the general acceptance of people for extreme violence. Like those who have accepted the persecution of others and the enjoyment of violence like Nazi Germany, the residents of the town think nothing of stoning someone to death.  It is a ritual, a rite.

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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I think too, that it is Shirley Jackson's commentary on how easily people accept things tied to tradition and how easy it for people to excuse behavior because "well, that's how it's always been."  Jackson's portrayal of the children's acceptance of this is the perfect example--even to the placing of a few small pebbles into Tessie's son's hand; the indoctrination of our belief system happens so early on, that it does become internalized, like the response in post #4 points out.

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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If I understand your question, you are asking why it is not considered wrong to stone people to death? By not passing judgement, and describing it as a normal, everyday activity, the author forces you to accept and face the cruelty of humanity.
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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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I think you may have noticed that the characterization of the townspeople is such that it highlights the easy acceptance they have with this tradition. As readers we are SHOCKED, but they are calm (except for Tessie). Jackson's story serves to make the reader question his traditions and superstitions. The townspeople participate in a mob-mentality act of brutality, but from their point of veiw it something that must be done. They all know their old adage: "Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon."

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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I do not think that you can use the word trivializing to describe what happens in Jackson's story The Lottery. They whole reason the village adheres to the practice of stoning the "winner" has to do with the traditions the village has and maintains. It cannot become trivialized internally (from "inside" the story) because the villagers make the choice to keep the lottery going. Instead, we, as readers, are the only ones who can trivialize the text. We, who are not a part of it, are left to question and justify the actions of another "culture." Therefore, the message about the trivializing of the characters will be different for every reader. I myself do not think that the characters are trivialized at all. They are simply adhering to their customs.

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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In order to help us answer your question to the best of our abilities, please let us know the name of the author and the title of the literary work you have in mind. Also, please indicate what you mean by "trivialization."  Perhaps give some specific examples.  With this information, we will be in a better position to help you.  Thanks!

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dayna4444 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

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In order to help us answer your question to the best of our abilities, please let us know the name of the author and the title of the literary work you have in mind. Also, please indicate what you mean by "trivialization."  Perhaps give some specific examples.  With this information, we will be in a better position to help you.  Thanks!

  The author is Shirley Jackson, and the title is "The Lottery".  What I mean by trivialize is that they make out the stoning to be nothing more but a regular yearly event.

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