Not Your Average Lottery
In her story “The Lottery”, Shirley Jackson talks about a small village in which the people have an annual lottery. Every year the villagers gather in the town square to take part in the lottery, and they would take a piece of paper from a black box. The one who has the piece of paper with a black dot would have to restart the process, but only with his family members. The one who has the paper with the black dot is the winner. However, this is no ordinary lottery, it’s a human sacrifice lottery and the winner gets stoned to death. In her story, Jackson uses tradition to develop her characters by showing how they grow into that tradition.
Bill Hutchinson is a very good example for that matter. Jackson made Bill Hutchinson grow into the tradition by making him realize the seriousness of it. She made him a really relaxed person until he pulled the piece of paper with the black dot, and at that moment, he became speechless. Jackson emphasizes: “Bill Hutchinson was standing quiet, staring down at the paper in his hand.” In this passage, Jackson shows us how serious Bill Hutchinson saw the lottery was. This is how he grew into believing and respecting the tradition.
Another character Jackson develops is Tessie Hutchinson. At first Jackson makes her not take the lottery seriously. For instance, she arrived late, and she makes jokes when it’s her husband’s turn. When her husband’s name is called, she says, as Jackson states: ““Get up there, Bill,” Mrs. Hutchinson said. and the people near her laughed.” This sentence proves how much she didn’t care for the tradition. However, when she finds out her husband had the paper with the dot, she makes scene, and that’s when Jackson developed her into the tradition. Although it takes her some time to accept it, Jackson eventually makes her take the tradition seriously, and Tessie receives her prize.
Jackson uses tradition to develop these two...