The theme of change in ‘The Lottery’

People are often hesitant to changes that are against their emotional comfort zone. One is likely to be comfortable and at ease if their beliefs are never challenged even though they are insensible. Unfortunately, at times people’s dislike of facing truths goes too far, and they start living in denial. Although this experience is harmless, at times, this blindness can be extremely dangerous. The majority of people will live in denial when they cannot bear the truth. Sometimes living in denial of reality can be tragic and hurt individuals. Failure to suppress the fear of facing challenges and embrace change encourage oppression of people. 

In the book “The Lottery,” Jackson speaks of the dangers of being part of a community that fears to change its evil traditions. He uses a town that has an unquestionable devotion to keeping a horrific tradition. Most people will be illogical so long as they keep holding on to a belief they have had since birth. By reading Jackson’s work, one can understand why people prefer to always follow a specific routine and how such a way of life can be oppressive and unjust. The author reveals prejudice in the town by using symbolism such as the emotional reasoning of Old Man Warner, the town’s residents allowing the black box to fall into disrepair, and the townspeople’s having a different opinion on Tessie Hutchison.

As news of the north village starting to give up the lottery demonstrations spread, some townspeople began considering the option. The reaction from old-timers such as Old man Warner was defensive. He has been part of the lottery for over seventy years and has socialized with its presence to the extent of not understanding how anyone would question its existence. Therefore when Adam says that the north village is having discussions of quitting the lottery, Warner does not even want to listen to their reasoning. Instead, he only concludes that those villagers are a pack of crazy fools. The old man’s reaction is emotional, and he does not even use his rational thinking to sympathize with what he hears. He uses a saying, “Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon” (Abcarian, et al. 286). Usually, such proverbs are used when one has no reason for doing something but does it since it has always been done since birth. 

Sayings are usually used to justify an action. It has to be completely disproved if arguments against it are raised. It is evident that Warner is not only against what the village in the north is doing, but he is also disappointed by the thought of it. Warner has emotional bondage with the lottery and is willing to protect his emotional comfort over any new contradicting idea. The reaction showcased by Old Man Warner reflects how most people will prefer holding on to a belief at the expense of another person’s subjugation and rationality.

Jackson uses the metaphor of the black box to illustrate how our beliefs are inherited from the culture we are born and found. It is much easy to get along with these ideas without questioning them. Apart from the black box being the central instrument used to conduct the lottery, it symbolizes the tradition of the lottery process itself. The town lets the black box fall apart, which signifies how residents do not desire to change culture even when it is evident enough that change is mandatory. Mr. Summers speaks of how he has been making a new box each year, but this is ignored by the townspeople. Even after an important figurehead of the village suggests that the box should be amended, this subject is just allowed to fade off. This shows that the people do not have the guts to move away from what they grew up knowing, even if it is wrong. The black box symbolizes the risks of blindly abiding by the old tradition of the town. The black color by itself signified death and evil. Although the black box is ancient and has faded, people like to keep it.

During the lottery, after all, slips are drawn, and Tessie Hutchinson notices that she has picked the black-spotted one she immediately claims that the draw was not done correctly. All her complaints fall on deaf ears. It can be seen that the town’s resident perception and affection towards Tessie changed just from the lottery. This is an indication of how far people are willing to go just to continue holding on to their beliefs. Without a doubt from the conversation, the town people were having before the draw showed their unity. But after Tessie is chosen for the lottery and she speaks up against her fate the town switches to being against her. Mrs. Delacroix demands her to be a good sport (Abcarian, et al. 287). Mrs. Delacroix statement is ironic as she is asking Tessie to be a good sport and let the townspeople stone her to death. 

This depicts that the residents are no longer emotionally attached to Tessie or the situation. The townspeople’s response to Tessie’s cry of the unfairness of the lottery was ignoring her. The way these residents react is similar to how most people, in reality, do when they come across an uneasy truth, and they have to change. People detach themselves emotionally from someone or something so that they can go ahead and do immoral deeds that they are accustomed to them.

Old Man Warner represents the emotional reasoning we are likely to use to validate our actions to avoid change. The black box represents how we desire to stick to an old habit even when we understand the significance of adjusting a behavior. The stoning of Tessie reveals what can happen when people take protecting their beliefs too far. Just like the Old Man Warner, we are all following some sayings of our own, and we fail to question them once they have been thoroughly installed in our brain. It might be possible that the people in Jackson’s short story commit their atrocity because they are misguided and they think that it is the right thing to do. Such a state resulted from following norms without questioning them. The oppression present in the town is a result of the residents’ firm belief in the lottery, which ought to have been long given up. People should be open minded and pay attention when new ideas of change are raised since some of them are usually for the better. When conversing with people that challenge our assumptions or beliefs, we should pay attention to them and reason rationally with them.

Works Cited

Abcarian, Richard, et al. Literature: The Human Experience. 12th ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2016, Accessed 31 Oct. 2017.p

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