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January 22nd, 2015

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The Lottery

January 22nd, 2015

Using the Social Contract while looking at the story “The Lottery” it seems that society was accepting of the lottery event that occurred every year. It was just another rule that everyone knew that they had to follow, even though they all seemed to resent it. In particular, the character Tessie Hutchinson was saying repeatedly that it wasn’t fair, yet she accepted the consequences of having the black spot. Under the Social Contract people are encouraged to live in cooperation. The village in the story mentioned how all the citizens gathered around every June 27, or there would most likely be some sort of punishment even though it is never mentioned. The author Shirley Jackson never tells the audience directly why the lottery has to take place, but one can assume it is enforced by a type of government. One can come to that assumption based on the character’s dialogue. For example, “”Some places have already quit lotteries,” Mrs. Adams said. “Nothing but trouble in that,” Old Man Warner said stoutly. “Pack of young fools””(706).

In Simon Blackburn’s “Being Good” he mentions how the ethical climate reflects  an ambition to determine what motivates and moves us to behave in certain ways (5). It makes me wonder what kind of ethical climate was the world in “The Lottery” has. What is the ethical reasoning behind stoning one person from your village every year? We definitely need more information on the past to be able to understand the motives for establishing the lottery in the first place.

In conclusion one can determine that there is definitely some type of dictatorship going on in this dystopian futuristic world. It has become the social norm to attend and perform the rituals of the lottery, but people are recognizing that there is no good coming from it.

Rachael Arnts


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