Lottery Blog Post Due: Monday, September 15th, 2014
1) Through “The Lottery,” what point does Shirley Jackson make about tradition?
- Identify at least one piece of evidence to support your observation.
-Throughout “The Lottery,” Shirley Jackson makes it quite evident that although tradition may have been useful in the past, sometimes certain things become useless and need to be disregarded. The author makes this evident when she mentions the “other towns” that have done away with this tradition. Shirley Jackson also shows us that many people are oblivious to the wrongs of their traditions, until it negatively affects them! An example of this moral would be Tessie. She was one of the most impatient people in the crowd, eager to get on with the stoning. It wasn’t until Tessie realized that her life would be impacted that she felt that the system was unfair, and wrong. This moral can be applied to our everyday lives! People are so quick to jump on the bandwagon if it secures their safety, but as soon as it can hurt them they want to voice their opinion. Sadly, by then it is too late, because everyone around you is doing to you what you would have done to them. And Tessie learned that the hard way.
2) What foreshadowing clues does Shirley Jackson incorporate into her story?
-Shirley Jackson drops subtle clues about what is going to happen later on in the story. Little hints like, the boys gathering rocks, the “tradition” being discarded in other towns, and the overall murky tone amongst the people (at the beginning of the story); let you know that the lottery was not an event we particularly expected.
3) What is the setting for “The Lottery”? Why is that so important to the theme of the story?
-“The Lottery” was depicted to take place on a beautiful summer’s day on June 27th. The reader views the town and its peoples to be very traditional; the children eagerly anticipate the summer and the adults partake in light gossip. This setting sets the reader up to feel as if “The Lottery” should depict a rather happy story. However, this setting takes an unexpected and ironic turn when we learn that the true meaning of the gathering is to kill one of their town members. Also, by omitting the year, we can only fathom when this story occurred. Did it happen in the past, present of future? We will never know!
4) What mood does “The Lottery” instill in its readers? How does it do this?
-The mood of the story changes as soon as the reader reads the conclusion. We shift from a very joyous feel to one of horror and surprise. The story does a great job of creating this ironic feel by not revealing its true colors until the very end. We are set up to feel quite comfortable, but this feeling of comfort is soon ripped away when we learn of the town’s true motives. Subsequently, leaving the reader(s) to feel quite shocked and horrified at the actions of the townsfolk.
5) What do we know about when the lottery was started?
-We don’t know much about the history of the lottery. What we do know is that its true meaning was lost a long time ago, but the people still partake in it due to a sense of tradition.
6) How do the townspeople feel about making changes to the lottery? How do you know?
-The townspeople are not too keen on making any changes to the lottery. Old man Warner, in particular, isn’t too fond of the towns that have done away with the lottery. He views the lottery as something that keeps the town civil, stating that without it the town would be synonymous to barbaric times. “There’s always been a lottery,” Old man Warner states, and its pretty evident that he and the town believe there always should be.
7) What is the general attitude of the townspeople as they wait for the lottery to begin?
-As the townspeople wait for the lottery to begin they are quite anxious. They are nervous to be called up, but likewise they are quite excited. Some are under a sense of security as to not being chosen, however the overall undertone is the fear of actually being chosen.
8) What specific evidence in the text helped you determine this?
- Pieces of text such as “Mrs. Hutchinson reached her husband, and Mr. Summers, who had been waiting, said cheerfully. "Thought we were going to have to get on without you, Tessie." Mrs. Hutchinson said. grinning, "Wouldn't have me leave m'dishes in the sink, now, would you Joe?" and soft laughter ran through the crowd as the people stirred back into position after Mrs. Hutchinson's arrival.” As well as,“The people had done it so many times that they only half listened to the directions: most of them were quiet, wetting their lips, not looking around.” These two pieces display the town as quite nervous for the event that was about to occur, however people like Tessie were quite secure in their position.
9) Is the lottery a collective act of murder? Is it morally justified? Is tradition sufficient justification for such actions? How would you respond to cultures that are different from ours that perform "strange" rituals?
-Personally, I do view the acts of the lottery to be inhumane and unjustified. However, this is a tradition unlike my own, and I do not feel I have the right to judge others on it. If it were me I would speak up and voice my negative opinions on this ritual, but ultimately this is their tradition, and it is highly unlikely that they would take the views of an outsider. To put this into better perspective I doubt that we would ever change our yearly holidays, such as halloween, thanksgiving, or even christmas, based on the views of another. So what makes this any different in the case of “The Lottery”?
10) What genre of literature would you classify this story? Why?
-Personally, I would classify this story as horror. The reason being, it is the type of story that inflicts fear. It causes you to gasp as you think of the twisted nature of their tradition. It causes you to cringe as you think about how long this has been going on, and how many lives it has consumed. It causes you tremble at the origin of this holiday. And lastly, it causes you to shudder as you begin to contemplate how you would react in such situation. All of these emotions embody a horror, and “The Lottery” is respectfully so.