What are some biblical allusions in "The Lottery"?I'm trying to find the deeper meaning within the next.

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

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The most clear allusion to the bible in Shirley Jackson's story "The Lottery" is found in the process of the lottery, itself, which evokes the biblical saying,

“He who is without sin may cast the first stone”

The practice of the lottery involves the stoning of an everyday citizen for no particular reason, save the pulling of the name of the unsuspecting individual from the black box. However, there is more biblical allusion in that the practice, itself, is followed almost as a religious ritual.

some people remembered, there had been a...perfunctory tuneless chant that had been rattled off duly each year; some people believed that the official of the lottery used to stand just so when he said or sang it, others believed that he was supposed to walk among the people...

This description clearly means to illustrate a saintly procession complete with hymns and the evocation of something otherworldly through chants. It also intends show someone standing out from the crowd resembling a divine being.

Notice also how blindly the villagers follow the practice and how nobody questions, nor defies it -with the exception of poor Tessie at the end of the story. Even the mere mention of forfeiting the practice altogether is looked upon almost as sacrilege. This is evident in Old Man Warner's reaction to Mr. Adams when the latter informed him of the other village's talk of suspending their (other village's) own lottery.

“Pack of crazy fools,” he said. “Listening to the young folks, nothing’s good enough for them. Next thing you know, they’ll be wanting to go back to living in caves... There’s always been a lottery,”

Therefore, in the practice of stoning, and in the blind following of a ritual whose origin is still confusing to the villagers, Shirley Jackson evokes a biblical scenario. The lottery represents the blind faith in all things around us; the unquestionable status quo which is very obvious in many religious organizations these days. The use of stoning is a clever way for Jackson to emphasize on the dangers of ancient thinking in a modern world. Without the sense of a faithful and seemingly religious following, the story would not have the same effect in the reader. Hence, this allusion to something biblical colors the story in a way that helps the reader understand the dangers and the tragedy that lurks beneath this group of villagers.

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