What is the worldview put forth in "The Lottery" by shirley Jackson

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The most obvious worldview put forth in Shirley Jackson's short story "The Lottery" is that any custom practiced in the name of tradition could certainly lead to victimization.

In Jackson's story, the practice of the Lottery consists in the stoning of a member of the village by drawing a name from a box. There is no purpose nor rationale for this morbid form of community "celebration", and there is no point in conducting these actions either.

Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones. The pile of stones the boys had made earlier was ready; there were stones on the ground with the blowing scraps of paper that had come out of the box Delacroix selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands and turned to Mrs. Dunbar.

This passage shows how the compulsive practice of something for which there is no clear objective can enslave us into submission to every rule and regulation that the practice entails. In turn, this breaks completely with the normalcy of human interaction.The people have, at this point, forgotten what the lottery is. However, the lottery has turned them into savages. That disgraceful legacy is the only thing that the villagers have kept from it.

Notice how Delacroix and Mrs. Dunbar speak normally to Tessie just like the rest of the villagers speak naturally to each other. However, the practice of the lottery turns their relationship into a barbaric and abhorrent game of hunter and prey...only to repeat the same process in a future occasion.

Therefore, when any practice is accepted blindly and practiced without question, the natural development of things is that the practice will grow until it becomes a habit. Bad habits are very hard to break, and we are its ultimate victims.

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The Lottery

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