Presents an interpretive thesis statement/claim about the story
Carefully analyzes the language of the story by quoting and explaining textual evidence
Has clearly organized paragraphs
Features prose generally free of spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors
Avoids Top 10 Errors
Correctly implements MLA formatting for citations and headings
Avoids broad generalizations and personal responses
Writing Practices to Remember
Your thesis statement (and essay) should pose an answer to the questions Why? To what effect? What is the significance? You should build your observations about the story into a definitive statement as to why they matter. Be sure your thesis and essay pass the “So What?” test.
Proofread: make sure that your essay is free of Top 10 Errors
Please refer to the this essay is written bellow.
A traditional norm without a choice “The Lottery”
In “The Lottery,” Shirley Jackson authors a story about a small town of three hundred people proceeding with a tradition of a lottery, which randomly selects an individual to be put to death by a stone beating, ending in the ultimate death of Mrs. Hutchinson. This town’s sacred tradition is thought to serve as an annual ritual needed for every resident of the city to move forward as a society. Old man Warner, one of the oldest people amongst the residents, believes that stopping this ongoing tradition will lead the civilized way of living back to how it used to be when people lived in caves. Throughout the story, the emphasis on kids and young people shines a light on how this act of ritual sacrifice is unavoidable, because the children are the ones who will be carrying on the tradition. If the kids are not included in the Lottery tradition, there is no chance for the ritual to have continuity. Shirley Jackson authored this short story to portray the idea of how an event can simply be normalized through generations and become a tradition, leading to a one-sided perception of the event. The idea of ritual sacrifice has been instilled in the residents of this village as a positive thing.
In this village the cruel and barbaric act of sacrifice has been happening for a quite long time. In old days, such sacrifice might make sense but, it is still a tradition. To show how numb they have gotten, the author states, “The people had done it so many times that they only half listened to the directions” (221). This shows how traditional the lottery has gotten. The Lottery has been normalized in the form of tradition. Later on in the story, the villagers were in a hurry to get back to their homes to eat their lunch. The fate of this act is decided by the black box and the paper inside it. The author gives readers a picture of the age of the box by stating, “The original paraphernalia for the lottery had been lost long ago, and the black box now resting on the stool had been put into use even before Old Man Warner, the oldest man in town, was born” (218). Merriam Webster defines paraphernalia as, “personal belongings.” paraphernalia is also widely used in terms of drugs and The Lottery is a medication which they take. This medication interferes with how they think and makes this ongoing tradition seem normal. The black box is known to be older than old man Warner. This box has its own original form. Just as the villagers do not want to replace the weary box, some the villagers do not want to get rid of the ongoing tradition. Some people are convinced that if they continue the tradition, their harvest will increase every year as they partake in the ritual. Change in many ways is thought to be a good thing. On the other side, old man Warner is an exceptionally good example of a person that does not want change. The lottery has been going on in the village for at least more than Old Man Warner’s lifetime. After incredibly lucky seventy-seven years Warner still has this to say,
Listening to the young folks, nothing is good enough for them. Next thing you know, they will be wanting to go back to living in caves, nobody works anymore, live that way for a while. Used to be a saying about ‘Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon.’ First thing you know, we’d all be eating stewed chickweed and acorns. There’s always been a lottery. (222)
Old Man Warner makes an interesting analogy between the lottery and civilization. He believes stopping the lottery will lead them back to ancient civilization. Old Man Warner believes that the life they are living is made possible by the annual lottery event. Old Man Warner’s assumption almost gives a hint from the author on how this ritual sacrifice was normalized by the adults in the village. Logically, Old Man Warner is saying that the ritual sacrifice is what makes them civilized. This cycle of convincing the new generation to take this act as a normal way of living has been going on since the beginning of this ritual.
From the beginning of the story, kids and young adults are the central figures of the Lottery because they are the ones who will represent the next generation in the Lottery ritual. The fact that young people must attend this event shows how the perception of this event as a tradition has blinded them to stop and realize what they are doing. After Mrs. Hutchinson was named winner of the lottery, “The children had stones already. And someone gave little Davy Hutchinson few pebbles” (225). Giving Little Davey, Mrs. Hutchinson’s youngest son, some rocks show how cruel and barbaric humans and this ritual sacrifice is. Davey was given no choice but to participate in the stone killing of his own mother. Little Dave had to take a part in this cruel ritual sacrifice goes on to show the dark side of human nature. This story begins with kids collecting and stacking rocks. The idea of having a ritual sacrifice to be civilized has already been normalized in these kids. The kid’s minds were nurtured and forced to see this ritual sacrifice as normal to move forward. Old Man Warner and the people that were in a hurry to leave this ritual can be seen as people who do not accept change for a compelling cause. In fact, Old Man Warner thinks that stopping the ritual will only move the residents of that village back in time. The residents of this village do not want to change this way of living because they were thought to believe that this is the right thing to do in order to grow their harvest.
In modern day society, there can be no moral justification for the practices of the lottery and the brutal killing results from it. As a tradition tries to hold a strong place in such society, it will be a continued tradition for years to come if their next generation do not do anything to change it. The people in the community are deeply indoctrinated into a behavior in such a way that it does not register as abnormal or even cruel to them. Tradition can make us blind to what we are doing and it made brutality invisible for the younger generation as they grow up in a community where the ritual is accepted as normal. It is exceedingly difficult to recognize violence as Shirley Jackson presents the cruelty of the ritual and how it is normalized in front of everyone in the community.