The Lottery is a short story written by Shirley Jackson which has an underlying theme of stoning. The act of stoning is where a group of people, in this case the people of the village, throw stones at a person as a form of punishment/sacrifice till they die.
The title of the story and the way the story is written gives the reader the impression that it’s just a normal lottery conducted in the town once a year. This surprised me when reading the story as it’s not revealed until the end what they are doing. “”It isn’t fair, it isn’t right,” Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her.” is the ending line of this short story which made me realise what the annual tradition in the town was for the ‘lottery’. This is the line which brings to the reader’s attention that once a year the town sacrifices someone by stoning them. This story made me think of the similar themes in the movie The Hunger Games. Whereby they have a reaping to announce a young boy and girl to represent their district and fight to the death for the entertainment for the capitol – Panem City. The Hunger Games started as a sacrifice to keep the districts in line after an uprising against the capitol. I think texts like this are quite interesting, but really strange. Why would we ever want to harm someone in this manner as a form of punishment or sacrifice? It amazes me how this tradition even came as a thought.
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Stoning is a form of capital punishment and is, surprisingly, still legal in some countries today. Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, and Yemen are a few of the countries which stoning is still a legal practice. I find this astonishing and I’m extremely grateful that New Zealand does not have it as a legal form of capital punishment – or having the death penalty legalised at all. Even if it was an act that was legal in New Zealand, I would be terrified enough to never commit a capital offense. I feel that stoning is an extremely gruesome and violent form of punishment, however, I find it quite clever in the sense that it’s an option for the death penalty in which case no one can be held accountable for murder – due to the fact that many people contribute to the death of the stoning victim. “Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example” is a line from the text which shows the town’s involved in the killing, no one feels guilt as the blame isn’t all on them. I personally find this quite disturbing, although no one is held fully accountable for it, they still help contribute to the killing. Which I feel is something I could never do in my life.