The Mirroring Of Totalitarianism In The Lottery By Shirley Jackson

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THE LOTTERY The Lottery, written by Shirley Jackson in 1948, is a mirroring of totalitarianism of Nazi Germany and the inherit evils of other societies; even our own. Written three years after the liberation of Auschwitz, Jackson's point hits home for an American culture that was simply judging Germany with out any thought of it's self. In the story, the reader is introduced to a picturesque little town in which an annual lottery is conducted to choose one townsperson to be stoned to death by the other townspeople. The stoning is rooted in tradition and is seldom questioned by the participants. A couple of themes are apparent throughout The Lottery; the first being that tradition is rapidly deteriorating in the story in the way that tradition…show more content…
As with any social dilemma, there is bound to be an opposed group and those who advocate the standard being drawn. This can be seen in both the history of Nazi Germany and the tradition of stoning in The Lottery. In Nazi Germany, Hitler rose to power with the aid of an elite inner circle and certain other groups intended to facilitate his totalitarian rule. Opposing his regime were those who often found themselves in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. In The Lottery, the younger generations of the town's population have begun to speak out against the annual stoning (Jackson). These youths cite the fact that many neighboring towns have already done away with the lottery, and they feel as though they too should dispense with the antiquated ritual. These youths represent the mirror image of the groups who opposed Hitler's regime in Nazi Germany. Also in the story is an elderly male character who reprimands the youths for their idealism and departure from norms and traditions (Jackson). He is more comfortable and content to keep with the ritual of stoning an innocent town's person to death every year. In the story, the man believes that the youths have lost sight of their own heritage and the way that things should be in society (Jackson). His character is the mirror image of the persons who facilitated Hitler's regime, and who wished to see a more traditional…show more content…
Societies believe that their concept of evil is the one and only. The town in The Lottery see the stoning as a normal event. To them there is no evil, it is a necessary way of life. But as Americans, most of us have been raised in a religious fashion where stoning is a punishment of the biblical era. This in our eyes is a morbid and gruesome way to be brought down, and the thought that it was almost voluntary and the whole town participates women, men, and children is more then most can stomach. In our minds he who is with out sin shall cast the first stone. Jackson was making a point to Americans through The Lottery that societies are not all as innocent as they believe themselves to be, thus no stone should ever be cast. She illuminated this point through the townspeople's belief that there is no inherent evil in the annual stoning of an innocent victim, because they themselves are without sin. The reader is, nevertheless, incensed by such an act. Therefore, Jackson carries across her message to the American society that we should be cautious when judging other societies because we are not innocent people casting stones. We are instead acting out of hypocrisy and evil

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