Summary of "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson
Tessie Hutchinson argues about how the lottery isn't fair and how her husband didn't have enough time to pick a piece of paper. All of the other characters in this story all play a significant role by just saying a few words and by helping throw the stones at Tessie.
We join them regardless of the consequences; this is very shameful and should never be done. Stone throwing has been presented as a tradition in the story. “It seems as though we sometimes condemn everyday truths that we know are characteristics of most people, including ourselves, and being afraid to admit them, place the spotlight on someone else. It is sad and definitely hypocritical, but it happens all the time. And I think Shirley Jackson makes this point without having to say a word about it. It is the thousands of readers who replied to “The Lottery”, in disapproval and horror that blindly proved Jackson’s theories valid and unknowingly portrayed themselves as not very unlike the villagers in the short story.”
The debates concerning the actual location of these rites prove that the line between the fiction and reality as perceived by the readers appeared to be unclear. Hypocritically concealing their fear of becoming a scapegoat, not feeling empathy with Tessie Hutchinson who becomes a victim and not having moral strength and common sense to abandon the meaningless rite, the characters of the short story have a strong resemblance to modern readers. “The contradictions of myth and ideology, the imaginary solutions to real problems, emerge in the specific rituals that ostensibly endorse the myth and ideology” (Hattenhauer 44). Thus, the plot of the short story can be regarded as the exaggerated reflection of the phenomenon of scapegoating as the imaginary solution to the real problems of the modern community.
Hattenhauer, Darryl. Shirley Jackson’s American Gothic. State University of New York Press, 2003. Print.
Jackson, Shirley. The Lottery. Mankato: Creative Education, 2008. Print.
Murphy, Bernice. Shirley Jackson: Essays on the Literary Legacy. Jefferson: McFarland & Company Publishers. Print.