EDITING : 2024.4.22 월 18:51
The Gachon Herald
Hypocrisy in 'the lottery'The Danger of Blindly Following Ritual Convention and Tradition
Choi Seh-min  |  cchloe1006@gmail.com
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Updated : 2021.01.22  21:38:10
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 Although it is disappearing now, there was a horrible tradition where Indonesian women of the Dani tribe had to cut the joints of their fingers with stone axes to show their sadness whenever one of their family members died. This ritual is performed even without anesthesia; instead, they tie up the finger very tightly to block blood circulation. Another example is the Gooseneck amputation event, a custom that has been handed down in Spain for about 300 years. The event is a game where geese are hung about halfway through tight ropes across a port, and participants break the geese's necks. As a team competition, one of the team members goes to the center of the rope in a boat, and they would break the geese's necks by twisting and pulling them out. The rest of the team members pull each side of the rope to make the geese's necks break more easily. The winning team is the team that gets the most necks to break in the shortest time. This event is still taking place in Spain. They now use dead geese. However, in the past, they played the game by hanging the real live geese. Like these examples shown above, should we preserve and respect every tradition even if it hurts people and violates human rights?

 This novel indicates how tragic it can be when people follow tradition recklessly. It doesn't mean that we should stop following traditions and that every tradition is not worth preserving. However, no matter how long the tradition has been, if it's immoral, we should get it right.

 The story is set in a beautiful small town. This town has been conducting the lottery every year on a summer morning of June 27th. People in the town depict that this lottery had developed their town into a civilized society. There are about 300 people in this village; so the lottery event ends up only in two hours. Village children are busy running around collecting stones. Men in the village get ready for the lottery by bringing black boxes. When the lottery starts, men gather first, then women, and children follow them after. Before the lottery begins, Mr. Summer, who runs the lottery, checks if everyone is gathered. He also reminds everyone about the lottery's rules: he'll read names, and the head of the family members comes up and draws a slip of paper. When they finish the draw, the representative of the family distributes the selected papers to their family members. The person who gets the black dot on the paper is the winner of the lottery. Tessie is the winner of the lottery this year. Instead of being happy about winning lottery, she shouts out, "It isn't fair, It isn't right." However, no one listens to her cry. Instead, the villagers grab stones and run toward Tessie, who stands in the middle of the crowd. The villagers, Tessie friends, and even her family members begin throwing stones at her. This is how the story ends. There is a big twist in this story. This tranquil village had the traditional practice of killing the lottery winner by throwing stones. Before we learned about the lottery they're conducting, the villagers and their preparations seemed harmless, nor weird: children run about gathering stones in the town square. However, we know the stone that they were picking become weapons that kill people, which is an unexpected plot twist.

 The village lottery culminates in a violent murder each year, a bizarre ritual that suggests how dangerous tradition can be when people follow it blindly. Although the lottery is said to be unjustifiable, the villagers nevertheless passively follow the tradition and commit unethical behavior without hesitation. No matter how important tradition is, like the lottery in the novel, we should get it right if it is wrong. Let's look back at whether there is an unethical tradition custom that we follow because of social or peer pressure.

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