Ideas for “The Lottery” Essay

I was able to come up with two analytical questions to be the prompt for my essay.

The first questions is: Do the townspeople in The Lottery perceive tradition as something positive? I do not think so because the townspeople were born with the tradition and were raised to follow it, now knowing the origins of it, or its purpose. They, although are scared of the outcome of the lottery, do not show any signs of opposition to the lottery. In order to make the writing process of the essay easier on me, I came up with some important words that relate to the question: outdated, immoral, illegal, dangerous, primitive, barbaric, and unknowing. Also, I think there is a fine line between religion/tradition and what is moral in present day society. Traditions must comply with the rules and morality in today’s society, so traditions must be changed or even banished to be seen as something okay.

My second question is: Why doesn’t Mr. Summers think that he is doing something wrong in organizing the lottery? The inhabitants of the town have never voiced any opposition to the lottery or to any actions associated with the lottery. In order to make changes in such a tight society, traditions have to be challenged. Mr. Summers knows nothing else, and it is part of his job to organize the lottery. In such a small town, without much contact from outsiders, they don’t even think about ending the lottery, like some other towns do. An example is when Old Man Warner says by ending the lottery, they might as well go back to living in caves. This connotes his stubbornness of change and how all they know is that it is their tradition to participate in the annual lottery.

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One thought on “Ideas for “The Lottery” Essay

  1. Alright Gerard! I think there’s a bit more to work with in your first question than in your second, because we never really get Mr. Summers’s perspective, so there’s not a lot of evidence that we could point to for that question. But in the case of the first question, I think you’re on to something. I wonder if we can rephrase just a bit to get at an even more interesting controversy. Regardless of whether the townspeople consider tradition positive, they certainly follow through on tradition, and the story depicts the result. I wonder, then, whether the story itself takes a position. What does “The Lottery” suggest about the effects of tradition?

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