What is a good thesis statement for "The Lottery"?

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A suitable thesis statement for "The Lottery" asserts that the villagers' behavior illustrates the difficulty people have in abandoning traditions or embracing change. This claim can be defended by discussing the villagers' resistance to change the lottery box, their dismissal of other villages abandoning the lottery, and their fear of obsolescence. Alternatively, another thesis statement could argue that a society that unquestioningly accepts all societal traditions is dangerous, divisive, and demoralizing, with each adjective forming the basis for a separate body paragraph.

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A good thesis statement presents a claim (an interpretive stance on a story that can be defended using textual evidence) and is a position with which someone else could disagree. Concerning Jackson's short story, "The Lottery," you could certainly argue that the behavior of the villagers makes it clear that people have a difficult time letting go of traditions or accepting change.

In order to defend this claim, you might discuss the fact that Mr. Summers, who runs the lotteries, has asked people about making a new box for use during the ceremony because the old one is so splintered, faded, and stained. However, the narrator says, "no one like to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box." People tend to cling to the things that they know, and these individuals know their lottery; why should they consider making changes if things have always run relatively smoothly for them? Anyone who has ever been selected to die in the lottery might have quickly developed a problem with it, but those people are—obviously—all dead. When Old Man Warner hears that people in the north village have talked about ending the lottery, he calls them a "Pack of crazy fools" and declares that nothing is good enough for young people. A fear of becoming obsolete, of being left behind, then, is perhaps the reason people cling so tightly to what is familiar and have such a difficult time embracing change, however small or however unjust the familiar tradition is.

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When constructing a thesis statement, my students often find it helpful to build the main points of the body paragraphs right into the wording. A thesis statement constructed this way might read:

A society that blindly accepts all societal traditions is dangerous, divisive, and demoralizing.

You now have three body paragraphs to build. In the first, you’ll be looking for examples of this being a dangerous society. Tessie Hutchinson dies for no other reason than random luck. She has committed no crime, but the blind acceptance of tradition is not questioned as people pick up their rocks for her stoning. In the second body paragraph, you’ll look for examples of this society being divisive. In a desperate attempt to save herself, Tessie is willing to throw her own daughters under the bus to decrease her own chances of death by stoning.

Still, this divisive attempt to spare herself doesn’t open anyone’s eyes to the injustices of the situation. And in the third body paragraph, you will look for examples of how this society demoralizes people. Tessie is reduced to an insignificant entity, suddenly not deserving to live another day as she simply draws an unlucky piece of paper. Even children’s names can be drawn to die. The lack of societal values are horrific because people blindly accept nonsensical traditions.

A defendable thesis is crucial to a well-constructed paper. Be sure your points are textually significant and use a few quotes to further defend your position.

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A good thesis would clearly state would you believe to be the theme or meaning of the story. To be solid, a thesis statement must state an opinion that is both specific and defensible.

You might, for example, want to point out that the story makes an argument that clinging to outworn traditions can be destructive, but that it is difficult to change. In the story, the town continues to have an annual lottery to choose a human sacrifice, believing that stoning a person to death will insure a good harvest.

But by the late 1940s, when the story was written, most people would have been well aware that human sacrifices don't guarantee a bountiful harvest. However, the village as a whole is unwilling to relinquish a tradition that seems to be a part of who they are. They are uncomfortably aware of how barbaric the practice is, but they can't seem to change.

You could write the following as a thesis:

Shirley Jackson shows in "The Lottery" that clinging to outmoded traditions is both destructive and difficult to change.

You would then collect quotes and details from the story that back up both claims. You want to be sure that your support is both sufficient and relevant. "Sufficient" means that you have enough evidence to convincingly support your claim, and "relevant" means that the quotes and facts you have chosen actually back up the claim you are making.

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One thesis statement for "The Lottery" could be a declarative sentence about the atavistic propensity for violence that still lies in the nature of man, along with a blind adherence to tradition, an adherence that Emerson termed "the opium of custom."

That there is yet a proclivity for violence in the boys is evinced in their excited gathering of stones and placing of certain ones into their pockets in the exposition of the story. Bobby Jones, Harry Jones, and Dickie Delacroix make a massive pile of rocks and guard it against raiders so that they will have them available when they need more during the stoning. The fathers, who stand around quietly talking and joking, make no comment to the boys about their actions.

When Tessie Hutchinson's name is called, no one expresses any sympathy or tries to have her excused from the proceedings. Instead, the woman who has just finished a friendly conversation with Tessie, Mrs. Delacroix, now tells her to "be a good sport, Tessie." Another woman, Mrs. Graves—the wife of the postmaster, who helps with the procedure—says unsympathetically, "All of us took the same chance. Even Tessie's husband scolds her, "shut up." This complicit behavior of the community with the proceedings of the lottery suggests that no one empathizes with Tessie, nor does anyone demonstrate sympathy for her plight and protest the violent death Tessie faces. Moreover, when the stoning begins, Mrs. Delacroix, who has been friendly with Tessie, has a stone "so large she had to pick it up with both hands." She turns to another woman, saying, "Come on. . . . Hurry up," apparently eager to inflict violence on her neighbor.

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I need a thesis statement for "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson.

A thesis statement should be a claim that is based on your opinion about something in the story. It should not be a fact or include quotations, but it must take a position with which someone else could potentially argue. If you are tasked with coming up with your own paper topic, you might begin by asking yourself what you feel are the most interesting aspects of the story. For example, it seems pretty crazy to think of a woman being stoned to death by her family and town simply because she was unlucky enough to draw the one piece of marked paper. You might be curious as to why the town would continue with this practice of the lottery. A thesis that attempts to explain why this practice is still in use based on the evidence in the story would be interesting. It seems as though these are a people who like to maintain tradition, regardless of whether or not it seems currently relevant. Do you think there might be something here?

Or, taking a different tack, you might wonder if it is mere coincidence that Tessie Hutchinson—the only woman who is late to the lottery, the only woman who jokes around with Mr. Summers—draws the marked paper. Perhaps it's not coincidence, but she's been singled out because of her outspokenness? Admittedly, such an argument would be more difficult to construct but very interesting to consider!

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I need a thesis statement for "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson.

What kind of paper do you have to write?  If you could share that, we can suggest ideas for a thesis.

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I need a thesis statement for "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson.

If you are asking what a thesis statement of the story itself is, realize there are many.  This story contains implicit, or implied, thesis statements, but it does not contain an explicit one.  This is often the case when the story means something more than its surface meaning.

Some of the implied thesis statements might be, "Humans often treat each other very inhumanly."  Another might be that "Tradition followed blindly can become outdated and even be harmful."  Another one can be attributed to Bruce Springsteen:  "Blind faith in anything can get you killed."

If you are looking to write an essay on the story, you could use any of the above as a thesis statement.

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What is a possible thesis sentence related to the symbols in "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson?

In Understanding Fiction,  Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren suggest unease with the story's structure, contending that Shirley Jackson has 

preferred to give no key to her parable, but to leave its meaning to our inference.

Working with "The Lottery" as a parable, why not focus on the symbols as keys to this parable?  One approach sees certain characters as representative of social classes:  Mr. Graves and Mr. Summer represent the upper class because of their power and money, while Bill Hutchinson and Mr. Adams represent the working class.  The lottery represents fate that determines people's social class.

Another approach has the names suggestive of other things.  Mr. Graves represents the imminent death that waits for the person with the black mark.  Even Mrs. Delacroix--the French word choix means cross--has symbolic meaning, as does Mr. Summers, whose name represents the time of year of the lottery.  The black box is the coffin/doom and forthcoming death; the lottery represents the random and senseless acts of violence in human beings.

So, a thesis about symbols could be about how they give meaning to Jackson's parable about man in her short story, "The Lottery." 

See the site below for additional criticisms:

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What is a possible thesis sentence related to the symbols in "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson?

As with the development of all papers and writing samples much will be present with what you have in front of you.  Simply put, determining your thesis statement might be contingent on what you know and what you can argue.  There are many elements to Jackson's work which you can analyze or study.  I think that being able to assess which component of it you will spend time addressing in your writing sample and what ideas or concepts you can explain through writing will be another part of this process.  Once these areas have been settled, I think you will find it easier to construct your thesis statement.  Until then, it will be a bit more difficult.  Simplicity might be the first step in this process.  What did you get out of the work?  What is it you are being asked to do in analyzing the work in your writing?  These steps along with assembling what is in front of you should help in constructing a thesis statement and then a paper.

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What would be a good thesis statement having to do with the setting for the short story "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson?

Concerning setting in Jackson's "The Lottery," remember that setting includes what characters know, as well as what characters own and the usual things one thinks of when dealing with setting:  in this case the village, the rock pile, the weather, the people, etc. 

Also remember that what you know of the setting comes to you from the narrator.  This means that your understanding of the setting is dependent on the narrator. 

In, "The Lottery," then, the detached, somewhat objective narrator does not reveal elements of the setting that would reveal what the lottery is really all about until after you have already been led to believe that these are just normal people doing normal things.  And, of course, that is the point.  Normal people are capable of great violence under certain conditions. 

Thus, a thesis using these ideas could read something like:

The setting, as revealed by the objective narrator, leads to the surprise ending and the horror that is created by that ending. 

Or, to get back to something the narrator doesn't reveal about what the characters know:

The speaker in "The Lottery" keeps an element of setting--what readers know--from the reader in order to hide the truth of what the lottery really is.

A thesis like these would connect the setting to another vital element of the story's structure, which is what you ask for in the second part of your question.   

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What would be a good thesis statement having to do with the setting for the short story "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson?

To me, the main importance of the setting in this story is that it sets up the shock of the ending.  The setting is so nice -- a small village full of nice people -- but what happens in the village is so horrible.  My thesis statement would reflect that.   If I were writing a thesis statement, I would say something like this:

"The idyllic setting of the small, peaceful village in "The Lottery" makes the story all the more horrible once we find out what is going on in the village's lottery."

I hope that's somewhat helpful -- good luck!

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I would like a thesis statement for my paragraph about the significance of the setting in "The Lottery"

The other thing about the setting of "The Lottery" is that non-Americans look at the setting and know immediately that it is an American town. It is a stereotypical view of small town America. In fact the setting reflects small town life...anywhere. Everyone knows everyone else and their business. This makes the stoning of one of their own even more horrific and barbaric.

Also don't forget to look at the contemporary context. Setting includes time, place and social environment and any discussion of setting should look at all three areas.

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I would like a thesis statement for my paragraph about the significance of the setting in "The Lottery"

You could pull in the irony that the woman who is this year's victim was almost not there...she was late because she was caught up in the duties of the day.  I'll bet she wished she had been later, don't you?

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I would like a thesis statement for my paragraph about the significance of the setting in "The Lottery"

Ms. Jackson's description of the town and the people who live there create 'safe' and 'familiar' images that most Americans can identify with, regardless of whether the reader actually lived in such a place. It is against that Norman Rockwell picture of an American town that her story of unspeakable horror unfolds. I think your thesis statement should reflect this paradox. For example, 'It was the kind of day where the apple pies sat cooling on windowsills just waiting to be dessert that evening, however there was something else floating in the air that day, something that could make you lose your appetite......'

Think about the town, then think about the preoccupation of the folks in the town. Hope this helps...Good Luck

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