The story "The Lottery" is a story about the traditional meaningless rules. People from a certain village organize a lottery every year. They do not know the origin of the lottery; they just know that it has to be organized. Villagers blindly follow the rules of the lottery even though the price is to kill the chosen villager. This year, the winner is Tessie, a mother and a wife. Tessie is placed at the centre of the village, while the others including her husband and her children have to throw stones at her until they kill her. In this way, the villagers honor their silly tradition without anyone complaining or thinking twice about the tradition. This ritual can be transferred to a level that is characteristic to many different cultures. People blindly follow superstitions and obey to them even though they deeply know that they cannot change our lives. The vast varieties of cultures hide in their cultural heritage superstition stories whose origin is not critically evaluated or supported by some evidence. However, a superstition exists and is passed on every future generation by word of mouth.
Superstation has deep roots in the tradition of every culture. In the past, reading and writing was a privilege of a wealthy people and ordinary villagers could only pass on traditional stories by word of mouth. As the time passed by, people frequently changed the original story by adding some new rules. Similarly, in the story "The Lottery", "The original paraphernalia for the lottery had been lost long ago" (Jackson 2). The rules from the story need to be followed and no one questioned their morality and originality. The readers can see the villagers happily talking with each other and complaining that in some villages the tradition of the lottery does not longer exist. The village symbolizes a small community that can exist everywhere is the world and the shameful lottery can be seen as a ritual that is no more different than many rituals based on superstation. No matter how different superstitions are, they have the same base: they are not logic and the majority of people believe in superstition.
Even today, superstition is rooted in many cultures. One of those cultures is a Chinese culture where superstition plays a major role in the lives of every citizen regarding their position in the society. There are many examples of extraordinary tales that describe the Chinese stories based on superstation without any kind of logical sense and critical judgment. One of those superstition stories is described in the book The Chinese Way written by Min Ding and Jie Xu. As Xu and Ding state, "While superstition exists in every culture, the most remarkable aspect of superstition in China is its pervasiveness" (179). People in China have a strong connection with their spirits and gods and blindly obey the rituals so that nothing bad happens in their life or to ensure that they are successful, healthy, and prosperous. There are many examples of superstitions in China that are connected with religion, environment and everyday life. "A typical example is the popular saying that one's left eyelid twitches for fortune and one's right eyelid twitches for disaster" (Ding and Xu 181). Even though people cannot control the movement of their eyes and other body reflexes, people believe in this saying blindly. Superstition plays an important role in the Chinese culture, and as long as it does not influence or endangers anyone’s life it can be tolerated by others. Tradition and superstation are deeply connected and they last very long so the origin of that cannot be traced back. Anthropologist and culture workers try to trace back the roots of origins and they are often connected with ancient lifestyle long before the science developed. This is why the phenomena of every significant life process such as the birth, marriage and death has a strong symbolic root in superstition.
On the other hand, there are also many superstition rituals that may have a strong impact on others and endanger their lives. The religion and its interpretation have a strong influence on these rituals. Today, as the mankind is facing with the war on terrorism from the radical Islamic organizations the images of beheaded people cover the headings of every world newspapers. How is it possible that the same people who are Muslims interpret differently the religion? The space that can be read between lines is used for different interpretation of the rules. The soldiers who are in the wholly war interpret sacrifice differently from other believers. "In a gruesome manner this universal trope of human sacrifice can be manifested in the slaughter of captives by cutting their throats"(Kolig 337). This is one of the examples where superstition and religion can impose danger on other people just because they are different than others. Others, frightened that similar may happen to them accept and follow these rules.
The tradition and superstition are important features of every culture. As such, people should save them because they present their cultural heritage and because they can learn based on these stories. Superstition and stories that hide behind it can help us to discover about the mentality of a certain culture, to see what they believed in and what their lifestyle was. However, a time when we can rationalize almost everything has come and people should be led by their reason and critical judgment instead of superstition. When superstition is in combination with the advanced technology and weapons, then it can cause a lot of damage on a large number of people and children as well. I think that a time has come to turn towards the future with our clear heads and think logically and analytically. In this way, people are not seen as the mass, but as the reasonable individuals who can differ good from bad.
Jackson, Shirley. "The Lottery"
Ding, Min and Xu, Jie. The Chinese Way. New York: Rutledge. 1988. Print.
Kolig, Erich. Conservative Islam: a cultural anthropology. Plymouth: Lexington Books. 2012. Print.