How does "The Lottery" relate to real life?

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“The Lottery” relates to real life because it shows us how people can easily be repressed by the communities they inhabit. Most of us derive great strength and comfort from the communities in which we live. But too many people are repressed by the communities in which they live. This situation is taken to extreme lengths in “The Lottery,” where individual scapegoats are chosen each year to be victims of a human sacrifice ritual.

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The Lottery ” is as relevant today as it was when it was first published in 1948. The theme of society versus the individual is a perennial one, not least because so many people the world over feel out of step with the prevailing value systems in the communities...

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in which they live. Far from deriving comfort and safety from their communities, these individuals feel repressed, ground down by what they perceive as stifling, mindless conformity.

It is precisely this sort of blind conformity that Jackson criticizes in "The Lottery," a story that takes these behaviors to their extreme to demonstrate that conformity and blind adherence to tradition can be dangerous. Here, this seemingly normal American community isn't just a source of oppression, but the outright embodiment of evil, as demonstrated by the annual human sacrifice that takes place on the village green in the early-summer sunshine. In this town where people are prepared to kill to uphold their traditions and way of life, the suffering or feelings of an individual is worth nothing—society is everything.

Although this story is, mercifully, fictional, Jackson brings up several broader themes that are relevant to our own lives in the real world: the dangers of conformity and mob mentality, the tendency to scapegoat, and mankind's propensity for selfishness and violence. There was an enormous backlash against "The Lottery" when it was first published, as readers took offense to its depiction of small-town life and its apparent criticism of American nationalism (which was rising in response to the looming threat of communism). Interestingly, this backlash stemmed from the very same type of group think and blind loyalty that Jackson was attempting to call into question. Ultimately, "The Lottery" urges us to think critically and resist the temptation to adhere blindly to the traditions or beliefs of any group—to fail to do so, Jackson suggests, is to risk losing our humanity.

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