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The Lottery, written by Shirley Jackson is a story that takes place in a small town of approximately three hundred residents. Every year on June 27th the townspeople congregate in a giant mass in the middle of town, where the lottery takes place. This lottery is a ceremony in which each family throughout the town is represented by a tiny white piece of paper. The family representatives, who are the heads of the household, take turns drawing from a box that contains these three hundred pieces of papers. On one of the pieces of paper there is located a black dot, marked the previous night by Mr. Summers. This black dot indicates the winner of the lottery.

The lottery is a ritual that has been around for years and years and it has developed into a way of life for the people of the town. When June comes rolling along everyone is anticipating the lottery. Kids fill their pockets full of rocks and plans are discussed about making a new box. They can not wait to attend and finally get it over with. This drawing seems to transform the people. Tension builds before the lottery occurs, but the townspeople are still able to joke with one another. Tension increases in the story when the author, Shirley Jackson, implies to the reader that Mr. Hutchinson has drawn the marked paper. We assume he does because he walks up on to the stage with his family and they are then made to draw again from the worn out black box. Mr. Hutchinson reaches his hand in and grabs out a piece with his children and his wife following in succession. The one that holds the winning ticket is Mrs. Hutchinson.

We learn throughout the story that the power and traditional aspect of the lottery has slowly diminished. In the case of Mrs. Hutchinson, Clean forgot what day it was. The lottery had been present within the neighboring towns; however, the lottery had been ended. The people of the town believed that the box represented tradition and therefore were reluctant to make another one. This box is representative of the lottery in that they have both worn down and are in need of change.

The lottery is a good example of how people conform to the situation that they are put in. People go along with the lottery because in their town it is socially acceptable and is part of tradition. However, this tradition is beginning to wane and this goes on unnoticed by the townspeople. They have no guilt or remorse to pick up a rock and whip it at the winner of the lottery.


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