Analysis of Themes in "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson

Do you remember when you were younger and would bother one of your siblings or a friend? You know like, saying “shut up” even though your mother told you not to say that word, hitting someone, or even saying something mean to them. Remember how it was okay for you to do all of those things to them but as soon as they retaliated, you ran to go tell? You never cared about what you did; it was only what happened to you that counted.

The theme in Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” is based upon the actions of Mrs. Hutchinson, a normal housewife. When the story begins the mood of the whole town is happy and joyful because of the lottery. Mrs. Hutchinson was eager to find out who had won until she realized that her family had won. You might think, why would she be mad if she’s about to win? Well in the latter parts of the story it is revealed that the lottery isn’t for money or a gift, but it’s for a person to be put to death by stoning. Regardless of the end result, everyone was still anticipating the lottery.

Mrs. Hutchinson is the only example of the story’s theme, that being, our senses of justice aren’t activated until we’re the victims of injustice. Mrs. Hutchinson could never fathom the idea that she might be chosen to win the Lottery. She never questioned the lottery until she realized that she could be chosen. The lottery was conducted annually and every year someone was stoned, which means that she helped, but when it was her turn it wasn’t right.

On September 11, 2001, the United States had won the lottery, the lottery of life. The U. S. always had a chance to win (be attacked) but never thought that they would. For many years the United States has seen Israel become terrorized by the Palestinians but never thought that the terror they saw could strike here. The United States never claimed how unfair it was for the people of Israel to go through the bombings and the relentless shootings, but on September 11th when the two commercial aircraft hit the World Trade Center buildings it suddenly became unfair. People were crying, not because they were necessarily impacted by the incident, because they thought that it was so unfair and that terrorism shouldn’t be happening to America.




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