The Lottery Essay

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In the following short essay, Lainhoff comments on the scapegoat theme in "The Lottery. "

Shirley Jackson's provocative "The Lottery" is a story in which anthropology provides the chief symbol. Frazer's The Scapegoat (The Golden Bough, Part VI, 3rd ed., 1913) makes it clear that the lottery is Miss Jackson's modern representation of the primitive annual scapegoat rite The story Imagines that, in some typical American community, the rite still flourishes.

The story begins on the morning of June 27. (Frazer: the rite often occurred at the time of the summer solstice.) The first to gather at the square where the lottery is to be held are the children. School recently over, they take to their new liberty uneasily, gathering together quietly at first before breaking into boisterous play, their talk "still of the classroom and the teacher, of books and reprimands." (Frazer: the rite was commonly preceded or followed...

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This section contains 556 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Lottery Study Guide
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The Lottery from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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