How does Shirley Jackson use the concept of scapegoat in "The Lottery?"


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Jack Buckby answered
In the short novel "The Lottery" written by Shirley Jackson, the concept of scapegoat is used throughout the story. Due to the nature of the 'lottery' that is used by the fictional community, a certain family is singled out as the scapegoat. Then one member of that family is further singled out for being late and is eventually stoned by the rest of the community.

  • A synopsis of the plot

The basic summary of the story is that it is a contrast of ideas between the life of a community in a small American town and the idea of ritualistic behavior. The 300 people who live in this community host an event each year referred to as "the lottery".

On one day in June, the community begins to prepare for its ritual as the adults and children gather stones and begin assembled the plans. It seems that the community believes this annual ritual will bring about good fortunes at harvest.

The ritual then begins, as each leading member of each family in the town takes a slip of paper. On one of the pieces of paper is a black spot and the family who receives this spot must then enter the next round of "the lottery".

  • The conclusion of Lottery

The character Bill Hutchinson receives the spotted paper and now him and his family must draw slips of paper again. Meanwhile, Bill's wife Tessie arrives late and as a result she draws the paper with the dot. The rest of community then proceeds to surround her and throw stones at her.

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