Loss of Humanity in The Lottery

Published: 2021-10-02 12:20:05
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Category: Humanity

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In Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” there are many themes to pick up on, however the one that seems to be the most important is the theme of humanity. In this short story many things burst out at the reader but the theme of humanity is one that the reader must be looking for. The loss of humanity is apparent in the story because of the activities they are acting upon, their feelings of others, and the connation in which they speak. First and forth most, the lottery in which Jackson rights about is almost the opposite of what most states participate in today.
Though the opening statement wouldn’t lead you to believe so, “The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day…the grass was richly green” (247) This expositions set the story out to be almost fairy-tale like, by showing the reader a perfect town. However it is far from this, the town is much worse than any evil step mother. The town is participating in an act of murder, even if they believe it is justifiable. The act of the lottery starts off with the gathering of the town.
Soon the men began to gather…” (247) This than lead to the families gathering with their own. “The women, standing next to their husbands, began to call the children…” (247) The plot doesn’t become dark until the black box shows up. (248) Once the plot as become dark it stays that way until the ending. “‘It isn’t fair, it isn’t right,” Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her. ”(252) though there are certainly more than a few examples of the loss of humanity however this the one that sticks out like a sore thumb.




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When the people are upon her it isn’t a trait of human kind, at not least the human kind of the past few centuries, that is something that animals do and not “civilized” humans. Secondly, the way that they talk about their neighboring towns shows the loss of humanity. First shown with Mr. Adam’s talking of the northern town and the loss of the lottery. When Old Man Warner hears he is all but happy. This was best shown by Brandon Ramos in his article, “Old Man Warner’s moral steadfastness helps to keep the village in check.
He never even takes the time to explain the importance. He defends it, however, he never explains it. A lot of the villagers probably don’t even know why they do this. ” (Ramos) Though the last part does show signs of a modern religion it is not something that is showing the humanity that it should. Not only was Old Man Warner enraged by the statement made about the other town he proceeds to say that it is actually that that makes them less civilized.
He even goes as far to say that they are reverting back to old ways, “Next thing you know, they’ll be want to go back to living in caves,” (250) He is saying without the lottery they are become cavemen, which is eerie because it is the lottery in fact that makes them even less like cavemen or Greek citizen how worshipped the sun or the gods. This brings it to the last point, the way they speak shows sighs of inhumanity. The most prominent example of this is the title of Ramos’s article. It was said by Old Man Warner, once again, but it read, “Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon. (250) (Ramos), this suggests that the murder in the lottery is nothing but a sacrifice to make the harvest as plentiful as possible.
Another example, though not speech, this example is of body language and how the town’s people showed it off. The way that Tessie is pleading at the end and yet the body language of her fellow ton’s folk is nothing but normal. The last example would be how quickly here friends and family choose to turn on her. Her husband, never even said a word about the result of the lottery. And her friends seemed to have turned on her faster than anyone else did.
Mrs. Delacroix selected a stone as large she had to pick it up with both hands and turned to Mrs. Dunbar ‘come on. ’ She said ‘Hurry up. ’” (252) The sum of it all is that through out the story the town’s people showed inhumanity through the acts that surrounded the lottery. Old Man Warner was the biggest supporter of the lottery even though he never supported why. The whole town supported him through and through tough it was morally wrong in many ways. Lastly the way the town’s people spoke and presented themselves showed nothing but inhumanity.

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