Almost every society in the world holds a set of traditions which have been established and practiced for a long period of time. However, some traditions often cause blindness to rationality despite of their destructive nature. In Shirley Jackson’s short story, “The Lottery”, a sacrifice of one’s life becomes the “prize” of an annual lottery event held in a small town. This society’s tradition have caused the people to (unconsciously) disregard their rational thoughts and the values of their lives as they have become so deeply rooted in their cultural beliefs .
In the end of the “ritual”, Tessie Hutchinson realizes she has won the “prize” -- her death. She did not try to escape, however,(although she begins to protest) because she knows it is her obligation to become the sacrifice as “[she is standing] in the center of a cleared space by now” (pg 51). However, in spite of all its significances, the tradition seems to have altered from a solemn ritual practice to an informal custom over time as “Mr. Summers had been successful in having slips of paper substituted for the chips of wood that had been used for generations.” (pg 45), and as they still remembered to use stones “although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box.” (pg 31)
This story shows us how people’s minds and perceptions can be deeply influenced and controlled by their cultural beliefs -- and sometimes even obligated or forced to do certain things (ie: sacrifice) without even knowing the real purpose. Our rational thoughts often become blinded by our traditional thoughts, which may often lead to results of our deeds unjustifiable.