The Lottery: Murder or Tradition

570 Words3 Pages
Murder or Tradition: Are the Actions in the Lottery Socially Justified? Throughout every culture, there are traditions that are valued. Whether it’s celebrating Christmas with family, or throwing a bar mitzvah on your thirteenth birthday. Some people believe no matter how old fashioned the tradition is, one should always keep it going throughout the years. What if the tradition is so outdated though, that the actions it consists of could send you to prison for manslaughter? In the movie The Lottery, based on the short story by Shirley Jackson, director Daniel Sackheim helped prove a point that tradition may not always be socially justifiable. The movie is based in New Hope, Maine, where main character Jason goes to spread the ashes of his passed father on his mother’s grave. A viewer can quickly tell that the town is a homely, small town. After being lied to over and over by everyone in the town about the cause of his mother’s death, Jason becomes suspicious of the town. He becomes even more suspicious when nobody will tell him the real reason that they were building a stage for the fourth of July. After being held prisoner and being forced to go to ‘the lottery’, he quickly discovers that the town had a morbid tradition of their own: sacrifice. In the movie, Mayor Warner says that “God has blessed the town”. He, as well as the other townspeople, believe that because of their yearly sacrifice, God blesses the town and keeps them out of harm. The irony in this however, is that the lottery is harmful. The people of the town believe it is okay to stone somebody to death every year because God blesses them. Even though this is illegal, the people, and especially the mayor, believes that if they stop doing this, the town will stop having good luck. Just because they’ve done the same thing for years, does this make it socially justifiable? Lawfully, no, this is not
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