Below you will find four outstanding thesis statements for “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson that can be used as essay starters or paper topics.
All five incorporate at least one of the themes in “The Lottery” and are broad enough so that it will be easy to find textual support, yet narrow enough to provide a focused clear thesis statement.
Graves’ barn and another year underfoot in the post office, and sometimes it was set on a shelf in the Martin grocery and left there" (213).“There had been, also, a ritual salute, which the official of the lottery had had to use in addressing each person who came up to draw from the box, but this had also changed with time, until now it was felt necessary only for the official to speak to each person approaching" (213).“Listening to the young folks, nothing’s good enough for them.
Next thing you know they’ll be wanting to live in caves, nobody work anymore, love that way for a while.
So much has been lost about the initial ritual that the oldest man in the village gets upset that things are not like they used to be.
In short, the lottery is more of a tradition rather than a ritual at the point we witness in the story but out of respect and fear for tradition, the townsfolk are more than willing to commit an act of mass violence, simply for the sake of a tradition.
These thesis statements offer a short summary of “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson in terms of different elements that could be important in an essay.
You are, of course, free to add your own analysis and understanding of the plot of “The Lottery” or themes to them for your essay.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #3: Tradition and Ritual in “The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson There is a great degree of tension about the rituals that surround the Lottery in Shirley Jackson’s short story.
On the one hand, there is great enough reverence for this ages-old tradition to continue on as it has for years even though there were some murmurs of dissent among the crowd as some recognized that other communities had done away with their lotteries.