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“TheLottery” Theme of Violence and Cruelty

Itis astonishing that such a peaceful and civilized town would condonedreadful acts of violence and cruelty. Moreover, these barbaric actswere perpetrated in the presence of young children. Famously knownfor the exploration of incongruities, Jackson composed a masterpiecein her work, “The Lottery” in an attempt to examine humanitiescapacity for evil. In an all-American setting, the narrative sets outas a fable or parable to address a variety of themes that majors onthe dark side of humanity, the menace behind despicable rituals, andthe potential for brutality when people succumb to the mass will. Itis without doubt that the society in question cannot stand and opposethese inhuman acts but rather rally behind “The Lottery”, whatthey perceive to be a tradition. Violence and Cruelty is a majortheme in Shirley Jackson’s work of art, “The Lottery”.

Theworld we live in is characterised by violence and cruelty all over.The Lottery was set out to address violence and cruelty in the world.What is described as a beautiful day in a vivacious village, on themorning of June 27, 300 villagers set out for what they have known asThe Lottery. The mood&nbspis exciting and children so young enoughthat they clinch to the hand of their older brothers and or sistersventure out to usher the event by gathering stones. The atrociousritual, The Lottery, is old that some of its traditions have fadedaway and are unknown to the current generation whereas others havebeen changed. The core purpose of the ritual is far forgotten, butthe villagers are eager to partake in it. Dubbed the stoning square,the children contribute to the despicable tradition by piling stonesearly enough before the event kicks off. After being sworn in, MrSummers, the civic-minded, he dishes out a piece of paper to eachfamily`s hand. After the unfortunate befouls the Hutchinson’sfamily, picking&nbspthe blank paper with a spot on it, they arehanded another slip. Unfortunately,&nbspfor&nbspTessie,&nbspa&nbspmemberof the Hutchinson’s family draws the spotted slip and thus sealingher fate. The crown spreads out to single out Tessie, and soon after,he feels the first pebble strike her face. People arm themselves withthe gathered stones as they progressively advance towards her &quotandthen they were upon her.&quot The author highlights the capacity ofinhumanity to victimize others by involving Tessie’s friends andfamily to participating in her stoning.

In“The Lottery”, the author portrays an average village withaverage citizens partaking in the killing of one of their neighbours(Hicks149). Therefore, questions of morality and emotions are bound to bethrown by the theme of Violence and Cruelty. The short story wascruel and unjust. It clearly condones any woman from back talking toany man without stirring up trouble. The villagers are cruel, theyenact in a lottery to pick one of their villagers at random(Oehlschlaeger 153). Moreover, it is very ironic for a tranquil andpeaceful village to indulge in such brutal and violent acts. It isunfortunate for individuals who belong to smaller families, as theyare likely to be chosen as victims of “The Lottery”(Oehlschlaeger 153). When a villager is picked, the other believes,in regards to their customs, that they have to be socialised.Furthermore, they assume that the death of the victim is for the goodof their society irrespective of the innocence of the victim. Unlesssomething bad will or might occur, the brutality of the village inthe story is very astonishing. Why would a small peaceful villageindulge in such inhuman acts? Jackson’s story exploresincongruities in our societies. We survive in a culture that evolvesover generations. Most of what people endured in the past hassubsided or been eradicated. Some elements of society have foughthard to enact change to their lives and their future generations.People have fought today for a better tomorrow. Nonetheless, suchefforts are not hinted in “The Lottery”. Mr Warner is quotedsaying, &quotSeventy-seventh years I have been in the lottery”.Clearly, the cruelty of the ritual ought to have been changed orquestioned. Mr Warner might have been ‘lucky’ not to be a victimof the brutal acts. Nonetheless, in a village of about 300 people, hemust have lost close friends if not family to “The Lottery”. Onecould presume that at some point individuals will question theritual, or at least try to unravel the true meaning and intent of theritual.

Apeaceful town can be senseless and irrational, to say the least, tobestow the prosperity of their village in the stoning of one of theirown. The fact that some if not most of the custom had been forgottenor faded away with time could be grounds to question the intent of“The Lottery”. Why would close friends and family indulge in suchcruelty? Ideally, no one would be at peace with participating in thekilling on one of his or her beloved one. The appropriate term todescribe the village is a cult. The villagers began singing andchanting and performed some ritual salute in condoning to sacrificeto honour their god. Moreover, anyone could be the victim of “TheLottery” including children.


Hicks,Jennifer. `Overview of ‘The Lottery’`. ShortStories for Students1 (2002): 130-152. Print.

Oehlschlaeger,Fritz. `The Stoning of Mistress Hutchinson: Meaning and Context in‘The Lottery`. Essaysin Literature15.2 (1990): 259-265. Print.