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The Lottery

The Lottery


by Shirley Jackson

The Lottery Tradition and Customs Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Paragraph)

Quote #4

There was the proper swearing-in of Mr. Summers by the postmaster, as the official of the lottery; at one time, some people remembered, there had been a recital of some sort, performed by the official of the lottery, a perfunctory. tuneless chant that had been rattled off duly each year; some people believed that the official of the lottery used to stand just so when he said or sang it, others believed that he was supposed to walk among the people, but years and years ago this part of the ritual had been allowed to lapse. (7)

All this hullabaloo lends the lottery a distinctly official quality. We learn later that beneath this veneer of civility is simply community-sanctioned violence.

Quote #5

There had been, also, a ritual salute, which the official of the lottery had had to use in addressing each person who came up to draw from the box, but this also had changed with time, until now it was felt necessary only for the official to speak to each person approaching. (7)

The lottery has evolved over time, yet there are fundamental elements of it that the villagers would never consider changing.

Quote #6

Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones. (76)

This passage implies that the villagers derive a certain amount of enjoyment out of the stoning. Why else would it be a fundamental aspect of the ritual?

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