Best 23 “The Lottery” Shirley Jackson Quotes
“The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson is a haunting short story that explores the dark side of human nature. Published in 1948, it continues to captivate readers with its chilling portrayal of a seemingly idyllic town and its disturbing annual ritual. Here are 23 of the best quotes from “The Lottery” that highlight the themes of tradition, conformity, and the dangers of blindly following societal norms.
1. “The lottery was conducted—as were the square dances, the teen-age club, the Halloween program—by Mr. Summers.”
– This quote sets the tone for the story, emphasizing the normalcy and routine nature of the lottery.
2. “Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon.”
– This phrase represents the twisted logic used to justify the lottery, as if sacrificing one person will bring a bountiful harvest.
3. “They do say,” Mr. Adams said to Old Man Warner, who stood next to him, “that over in the north village they’re talking of giving up the lottery.”
– This quote hints at the possibility of change and resistance to the lottery, but it is quickly dismissed by Old Man Warner.
4. “It isn’t fair, it isn’t right.”
– Tessie Hutchinson’s protest highlights the injustice of the lottery and the blind acceptance of tradition.
5. “It’s not the way it used to be.”
– This quote reveals a shift in the townspeople’s perception of the lottery, suggesting that it may not have always been this way.
6. “Seventy-seventh year I been in the lottery.”
– Old Man Warner’s longevity in participating in the lottery underscores the blind adherence to tradition.
7. “Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon.”
– This recurring phrase reinforces the idea that the lottery is a necessary sacrifice for a successful harvest.
8. “The people had done it so many times that they only half listened.”
– This quote reflects the desensitization of the townspeople to the brutality of the lottery.
9. “Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones.”
– This quote suggests that the tradition itself has lost its meaning, yet the violence and cruelty remain.
10. “There’s always been a lottery.”
– This statement emphasizes the longevity and deeply ingrained nature of the lottery, implying that it will continue indefinitely.
11. “The feeling of liberty sat uneasily on most of them.”
– This quote depicts the internal conflict felt by some townspeople, as they struggle to reconcile the oppressive nature of the lottery with their desire for freedom.
12. “Pack of crazy fools… Listening to the young folks, nothing’s good enough for them.”
– Old Man Warner’s dismissal of change and criticism illustrates the generational divide and resistance to progress.
13. “There was a story that the present box had been made with some pieces of the box that had preceded it, the one that had been constructed when the first people settled down to make a village here.”
– This quote symbolizes the perpetuation of tradition and the unending cycle of violence.
14. “The original paraphernalia for the lottery had been lost long ago.”
– The loss of the original lottery paraphernalia indicates that the true origins and purpose of the ritual have been forgotten.
15. “It’s not fair, it isn’t right,” Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her.
– Tessie Hutchinson’s final plea for justice reflects the tragic consequences of questioning the lottery.
16. “Shut up, Tessie,” Bill Hutchinson said.
– This quote highlights the power dynamics within families and the pressure to conform to societal norms.
17. “They greeted one another and exchanged bits of gossip as they went to join their husbands.”
– This quote demonstrates the superficial nature of the townspeople’s relationships, as they engage in casual conversation before the gruesome lottery begins.
18. “Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones.”
– This repetition of a quote emphasizes the townspeople’s adherence to violence, even when the purpose is forgotten.
19. “The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank, around ten o’clock.”
– The casual setting of the gathering suggests that the lottery is a routine event, further normalizing the violence.
20. “It was clear that they were not only pleased with the ceremony but anxious to see her take her punishment.”
– This quote exposes the sadistic pleasure the townspeople derive from the lottery and their eagerness to see someone suffer.
21. “The children had stones already. And someone gave little Davy Hutchinson a few pebbles.”
– The involvement of children in the violence demonstrates how the cycle of tradition perpetuates itself through generations.
22. “She held her breath while her husband went forward.”
– Tessie Hutchinson’s anxiety and fear symbolize the sense of impending doom that hangs over the lottery.
23. “It isn’t fair, it isn’t right,” Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her.
– This final quote encapsulates the devastating consequences of blind conformity and the tragic end of the story.
FAQs about “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson
1. Why is “The Lottery” considered a classic?
“The Lottery” is considered a classic because it explores timeless themes such as tradition, conformity, and the darker aspects of human nature. Its shocking ending forces readers to question societal norms, making it a thought-provoking and memorable piece of literature.
2. What is the main message of “The Lottery”?
The main message of “The Lottery” is a critique of blindly following tradition and the dangers of conformity. It highlights the potential for violence and cruelty that can lurk beneath the surface of seemingly idyllic communities.
3. Why is the lottery in the story so disturbing?
The lottery in the story is disturbing because it involves the ritualistic sacrifice of one person from the community each year. The casual acceptance and participation of the townspeople in this violent act raises questions about the nature of humanity and the power of tradition.
4. What is the significance of the black box in “The Lottery”?
The black box symbolizes the perpetuation of tradition and the unending cycle of violence. While the original purpose and meaning of the lottery may be lost, the black box serves as a reminder of the town’s past and the continued adherence to this brutal ritual.
5. Why do some characters in the story question the lottery while others accept it?
Some characters in the story question the lottery because they may have started to see the injustice and cruelty in the ritual. However, others accept it due to their fear of challenging tradition, societal pressure, or a belief that the lottery is necessary for the well-being of the community.