Compare and Contrast Theme of Tradition change in “The Lottery” and “The Destructors”
Change in traditions is a theme that both Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery and Graham Greene’s The Destructors. Although written in different historical times and using different settings to pass the messages, the two short stories share a common theme of change. While Greene creates his chief antagonist in T (Trevor), who is determined to destroy the only house that reminisces tradition in London after the bomb attack, Jackson uses the event of a village lottery to indicate the changing society, but barbarism is persisting.
Both short stories involve erosion of the traditions and change in how people view traditions.
In The Destructors, Trevor is determined to destroy the last remaining old and stylish house in London.
In The Lottery, villagers are questioning the importance of having the lottery and associate it with chaos which eventually happens to lead to the stoning of one of them.
Trevor is determined to ensure that the entire house is destroyed and that only a rubble remains.
Several of the family heads are absent hence, wives and children are forced to assume the duty of drawing lots.
The breaking of tradition is not easy.
Trevor, who orchestrates the entire operation of destroying the house, tells Old Misery that "It is nothing personal," a statement that is painfully amusing considering that he had just destroyed his (Old Misery's) house and money hidden in the mattress.
Despite the people of the village not knowing how the rotary killings began or the songs and chants made during the rotary, they still stone Tessie to death.
Breaking traditions and preserving them both have pain involved.
In The Rotary, Tessie is stoned to death just because she “won” the rotary.
Old Misery is left without a house and his money just because T. wanted to destroy the ancient and traditional house.
Both stories are focused on traditions and the way people are either willing to follow them or willing to break them.
While The Rotary shows how people can blindly follow traditions, The Destroyers show how the young people are willing to change the traditions and start building afresh.
Greene, G. (1954). The destructors. Mankato, MN: Creative Education.
Jackson, S. (1948). The lottery. Mankato, MN: Creative Education.