A Life Unexamined: An Analysis of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery"

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A Life Unexamined An Analysis of “The Lottery” In “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, the residents of an idyllic village engage in a brutal ritual that leads to murder. On a designated day each summer, the residents of the village gather in the town square to conduct a lottery. This event has existed for generations. As the residents assemble, three boys, Bobby and Harry Jones along with Dickie Delacroix, gather stones and pile them in a corner of the square. To prepare for the lottery, Mr. Summers, the owner of a coal mining business and Mr. Graves, the village postmaster, set a stool down in the middle of the square placing a weathered, black box on top. The box contains one slip of paper for each person present, and they’re all blank save one which bears a black dot. Just as the lottery is about to begin, Tessie Hutchinson arrives, scrambling to join her family before the lottery begins. She tells her husband Bill she forgot what day it was and was washing dishes. After Mr. Summers ensures everyone able to attend is present, he begins calling the last names of family groups in alphabetical order. The patriarch of each family steps forward, draws a slip of paper from the box and returns to his place. Once all the family leaders have drawn, each looks at his own paper to discover who drew the black dot. Bill drew the marked slip of paper, and now each member of the Hutchinson family must draw to see which of them will obtain the black dot. After they’ve drawn, Tessie reveals her paper, smudged with the black dot. She protests that the drawing wasn’t fair, but the residents, including her own family move quickly to stone her to death. In her story, Jackson suggests that religion, if left unexamined and followed without question, will devolve into a useless, often brutal permutation of its former self. Tessie Hutchinson, the central protagonist of the story, is an

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