The Lottery and Other Stories

many modern customs or rituals have been developed from primitive orgins( for example, the decorations of a christmas tree). Can you identify some others? what would set them apart from the ritual stoning in this story?

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There are many customs and rituals from many cultures. Halloween, Easter (egg hunt, big bunny), initiations into clubs, graduation, tooth fairy, are just a few of our western customs. The rest of the world has far more. I suppose our customs are fairly benign compared to a stoning. Westen customs have been taken largely from Biblical roots and changed into money making enterprises. Christmas is a perfect example of this. Stoning, in The Lottery, seemed to have been derived from some sort of pagan land idea. Old man Warner mentions so9mething about crops. This, however, has been long forgotten by the villagers. It is merely the ritual of stoning that remains. Even the pageantry leading to the stoning has been forsaken for the act itself. Jackson is commenting on the human propensity to go through ritual for its own sake. The repetition is ingrained in our psyche. Our morbid fascination with death is at play here too. Still, our rituals are similar in that they give us comfort. We like consistency in our hectic lives. Some other parts of the world still engage in this kind of brutality but the issues are far more complex.