Topics in the Lottery Showing the Nature of People

Topics: Lottery

Many people are aware of the flawed nature of humans. There is the association of how bad a mistake is. For example, people would rather send a murder to jail than a person who broke his mother’s vase. The Bible even tells that all humans are flawed saying, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23, English Standard Version) Also, there are motives of why people sin. Some motives include anger, revenge, or just following the crowd.

The characters in “The Lottery” and “The Destructors” exemplifies the sins that people commit. By using theme and characterization Jackson and Greene show the flawed nature of humans. The themes in “The Lottery” is effective in showing the nature of humans. The lottery in this story was a tradition followed for over seventy years (Jackson, 1948). This lottery is not a lottery a reader might think of.

The winner of this lottery gets stoned, instead of the large sums of money one might think of when the world lottery comes to mind.

The people in this town seen to value tradition more than human life. This points out a major thing in human nature. Humans tend to enjoy traditions. Families enjoy eating turkey at Thanksgiving and opening presents at Christmas. If one were to get rid of these traditions, he or she would receive strange looks for disposing of an event that has been done for a long time. This is what the characters in the lottery are experiencing.

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These people have been doing the lottery for so long, that the town could get strange looks from others if the town decided to stop. Next, the author uses characterization to show how people can be impacted by the nature of humans. First, Jackson uses Old man Warner to tell how people value traditions.

The story tells the reader that Old man Warner is the oldest citizen in the town. (Jackson, 1948) The story says that “the black box now resting on the stool had been put into use even before Old Man Warner, the oldest man in town, was born” (Jackson, 1948/n.d., para.5). According to this quote, Mr. Warner has had experienced many lotteries. When people grow up on tradition, he or she tends to still perform the tradition. That scenario is the case for Old man Warner. Warner said, “Next thing you know, they’ll be wanting to go back to living in caves, nobody work any more, live that way for a while” (Jackson, 1948/n.d., para. 31). This means that when he heard criticism towards the lottery, he believes that people cannot live without one. Also, Jackson uses the character of Tessie Hutchison. By analyzing the story, one can conclude that she has participated in the lottery.

When Bill drew the paper she said, “You didn’t give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn’t fair” (Jackson, 1948/n.d., para.45). Eventually, Tessie “won” the lottery and got stoned. This goes to show two things. First, this shows the impact traditions can have. Second, this shows the nature of humans. One can do something to another and not care, but when that same thing is imposed on him, he opposes. In short, one must think of the impacts of traditions. Second, Greene also shows the effect of human nature in his story, “The Destructors”. In this story, the is the love of material items. The story is set post-war. As seen between the Wormwood gang and Mr. Thomas, there is a difference of values.

Mr. Thomas has a big house filled with many items. This man likes the money and the extravagance of his house so much, it could be the cause of why him kid’s call him Old Misery (Greene, 1954). His money addiction could be the cause of the tension between him and the gang. If Mr. Thomas loved money less, possibly, the gang would have abstained from destroying the house. This shows that the love of money is harmful Also, Greene uses the character of Trevor to show the flawed nature of humans. Trevor, or T., is angry at the fact that his dad lost his well-paying job (Greene, 1954). Greene (1954) wrote, “…his father, a former architect…” (para.2)

The word former gives the reader a clue of why Trevor would even join the gang. Trevor shows that anger, which as a role in human nature, can lead to doing mean things. In conclusion, both use literary elements to show the true nature of humans. “The Lottery” showed that traditions can be dangerous. “The Destructors” showed that love of materialistic items led to bad things. Both authors also used the characters to exemplify the nature of humans. As seen, Jackson and Greene used themes and characterization to show the sinful nature of humans. References Greene, G. (1954). “The destructors.”

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