In Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," how does upholding tradition affect village relationships?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," the selection defies friendships and family relationships, pitting friends against each other or mothers and fathers against their children, in which no favorable outcome is possible. 

The horror of "The Lottery" is the 'survival of the fittest' mentality that does seem to prevail amongst the townspeople.  Even when the Hutchinsons reveal their black slip, Tessie backpedals frantically to find a loophole--not to stop the process, but to try to force a redraw.  She singles out "Don and Eva," her grown-up married daughter in an attempt to change the odds, but to no avail. 

The lottery strips the humanity from the relationships in the small town, asking of its villagers to murder coldly one of their own.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial