The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

504 Words3 Pages
Often, tradition and morality are closely linked. Traditions are an important part in every religion, family, or community, whether it is a new one that has been recently made or that has been around for hundreds of years. Traditions bring strong bonds to the community. However, in Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” tradition shows its dark side and corrupts the local community’s morals. In this short story, tradition blindly pushes villagers to extremes and takes over their morality. The community is blinded by tradition, without realizing how it affects their morals. Mr. Summers, the oldest man in the village who is responsible for the lottery, appeals to people’s fear of ending the tradition. He tries to maintain it. The old man claims that there has always been a lottery and by giving up the lottery the villagers will get in trouble.
He doesn’t want to question it seeing that this might cause instability in the entire village. Everyone in the village is so engaged in this matter that they don’t want to question it either. Villagers have grown up with this tradition and it has stayed in their blood, which makes them follow tradition, no matter how big the price they might have to pay. As a result, innocent people die in the name of tradition. Human morals and values are thrown away in order to “win”. The first to gather in the square on the day of the lottery are children, who are only taking part in this cruelty because they view it as a fun game. Then the adults begin to gather in the square. They are mature enough to know what is to going to be the outcome of winning the lottery. They know what is waiting for them but they are taught to believe in it. The adults are so caught by the tradition that they do not see that it is morally wrong to kill innocent people. People are dying for what they think is an unavoidable part of their tradition.

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