The Lottery Essay

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Jake gylinhall Assignment #2 Wednesday Class The Lottery builds itself around suspense of an old tradition of stoning one person within the village every year. This story is more importantly about the importance and strength that tradition can have on many groups of people, and even a large town. Tradition involves handing down beliefs, practice, or ritual from generation to generation. However, there is an obvious problem with tradition, if we weren’t present at the time the tradition was made, who was to judge if this tradition, in its beliefs and practice, were ethical or just? The power that helps overcome this problem is by argumentum ad Populum. This concept is shown in a very extreme way in “The Lottery.” The author exemplifies the power of a following towards a tradition by picking individual people within the village, and shows the influence of one on another, directly towards each other, and indirectly on the whole village. Examining Tessie, Old Man Warner, and Mr. Summers, alongside their respective roles, brings a better understanding of the problem with a unacceptance of change to tradition. Tessie represents the most obvious reason for change to tradition. Tessie was an unfortunate casualty of the lottery, ironically her position is one uniquely to herself in that she believes that the lottery is unjust. Her timeliness to the biggest event in time helps show her stance on the tradition. Her position becomes clear towards the family drawing. At first, when the whole village was in the drawing, she was making an excuse of not allowing her husband time enough to pick the ticket he wanted to; however, when she was chosen as the final pick, she proclaimed her true view. Tessie exclaimed, “This isn’t right!” her hidden position now brought to light, now that she has been brought to moments before her death. Her fear of ridicule from the village hid her

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