close
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by professional essay writers.

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson Summary

downloadDownload printPrint

Remember! This is just a sample.

You can get your custom paper by one of our expert writers.

Get custom essay

121 writers online

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson Summary essay
Download PDF

The events of “The Lottery” border on the absurd. Nevertheless, the story cries out for interpretation on several levels. Shirley Jackson has skillfully used the elements of several ancient rituals to create a tale that touches on the character of ritual itself and the devastating effects of mob psychology.

At the heart of the story is one of the oldest concepts of humankind: the notion of the scapegoat. Ancient civilizations often conducted a ceremony in which the evils of an entire society were symbolically transferred to one member of the group, either human or animal, and that member was killed or banished. This death or banishment suggested that the evils of the past had been expurgated, allowing for a better future for the group. The Jewish people in Old Testament times conducted the ritual by designating a goat as the recipient of all sins and evil, then turning the goat out into the desert; hence, in Western literature, the term “scapegoat” has been widely adopted to designate this sacrificial victim.

The upfront tone of the story helps show how any traditions can be dangerous and can hurt a person in many different ways. In the short story Jacksons tradition can be harmful to multiple people.

The tradition that this little small town had been doing for over 70 years was a yearly stoning every 27th of June. This stoning tradition harmed the mental health of the prey by killing them and the predators by knowing that they had to murder a fellow friend or neighbor, but they still continued this insane tradition, some were even proud to have been part of this tradition that they referred to as the lottery. The victim of the lottery that year was Tessie Hutchinson, once they found out it was her she started going crazy and kept yelling that it wasn’t fair. This shows how this small town tradition was hurting her mental health by making her lose it moments before her death after “a stone hit her on the side of the head”.

Tessie Hutchinson is the scapegoat in her town in the year in which “The Lottery” takes place; the implication in the story is that the lottery is an annual event. In this town, the scapegoat is used to banish the evils of the society so that the crops will flourish. Thus, two ancient rituals are combined: the notion of banishing evils via a sacrificial victim, and the idea of appeasing higher powers in some way to ensure fertility for the land. Fertility rituals, too, usually involved some kind of sacrifice.

The people of the town are caught up in the ritual to such an extent that they have given up any sense of logic. Mob psychology rules their actions. Though they appear to be sane, sensible individuals, when the time of the lottery comes, they abandon their rational nature and revert to the instincts of the herd. This psychological phenomenon is characteristic of humans throughout history. Although Jackson portrays it in its extreme form in this story, the idea that men and women in groups are willing to forgo personal responsibility and act with great cruelty toward others is evidenced in actions such as lynch mobs, racial confrontations, and similar incidents. The willingness of people to act irrationally as members of the herd displays aspects that, while unpleasant, are still integral parts of their nature that they must recognize if they are to keep them in check.

Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student.

Your time is important. Let us write you an essay from scratch

experts 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help you just now

delivery Starting from 3 hours delivery

Find Free Essays

We provide you with original essay samples, perfect formatting and styling

Cite this Essay

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson Summary. (2021, October 27). GradesFixer. Retrieved August 11, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-lottery-by-shirley-jackson-summary/
“The Lottery by Shirley Jackson Summary.” GradesFixer, 27 Oct. 2021, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-lottery-by-shirley-jackson-summary/
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson Summary. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-lottery-by-shirley-jackson-summary/> [Accessed 11 Aug. 2022].
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson Summary [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 Oct 27 [cited 2022 Aug 11]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-lottery-by-shirley-jackson-summary/
copy to clipboard
close

Where do you want us to send this sample?

    By clicking “Continue”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.

    close

    Be careful. This essay is not unique

    This essay was donated by a student and is likely to have been used and submitted before

    Download this Sample

    Free samples may contain mistakes and not unique parts

    close

    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.

    close

    Thanks!

    Please check your inbox.

    We can write you a custom essay that will follow your exact instructions and meet the deadlines. Let's fix your grades together!

    boy

    Hi there!

    Are you interested in getting a customized paper?

    Check it out!
    Don't use plagiarized sources. Get your custom essay. Get custom paper
    exit-popup-close

    Haven't found the right essay?

    Get an expert to write you the one you need!

    exit-popup-print

    Professional writers and researchers

    exit-popup-quotes

    Sources and citation are provided

    exit-popup-clock

    3 hour delivery

    exit-popup-persone