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The Lottery

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A Faded Tradition

Why do the majority of people think of presents that will be received, or given when they hear the word Christmas? Ironically, Christmas is a celebration of the miracle birth of Christ. Shirley Jackson's short story, "The Lottery" over exaggerates the irony that people remember what they want to remember in a tradition. "Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones."(p.268) A cruel outlook on human nature. Choosing of what one wants to remember. As in Christmas and receiving presents; presents being the one thing in the religious tradition that is rarely forgotten. The stones symbolizing the presents.

"The Lottery," starts off ironically. "...June 27th was clear and sunny..." (p.263) The beginning of the story is ironic due to the lottery being a lottery of death; a beautiful day would not best symbolize a dreadful occasion. A clear and sunny day seems a perfect day for a fun town event. Shirley Jackson leads the reader to believe the lottery is going to be a cheerful event. "Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example..." (p.263) The children seem excited to meet and gather rocks anxiously to start the lottery. The children only remember the stone throwing as the highlight, not even thinking to ask why it is done. The adults soon gather and seem glade to gather and wait for Mr. Summers. Not even questioning the purpose, but just knowing the lottery happens every 27th of June. The townspeople continue to make everyday conversation showing no concern that they may be the unlucky person to get stoned for no purpose.

The characters are all ironic. Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves both names having other meanings. Mr. Summers runs the lottery, and Mr. Graves helps. Summer is often thought of a season of happiness and warmth. Mr. Summers is describes as a good man; "...had time and energy to devote to civic activities."(p.263) Mr. Summers often jokes around with people during the lottery, which is odd for such an occasion. He wants the lottery done as quickly as possible. People as Old Man Warner, do not approve of Mr. Summers rushing and disregard to the original ways of the lottery. Old man Warner's experience and memory of the old lottery rituals results in the disapproval of any new ways of the lottery. Graves ironically has to do with death. Mr. Graves helps with the lottery box. Mr. Graves basically delivers the notice of one of their deaths.

Tessie Hutchinson shows up late to the lottery saying "'Clean forgot what day it was,'" (p.265) This shows how easily a person can forget things. Tessie does not seem to take the ritual seriously, possibly because of the amount of people in the village or the fact she has been gone years without being chosen in the violent ritual. Tessie even starts to joke around with



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