The population of the world is more than seven billion and it is still increasing. Babies are born and people die, and that is a part of nature. Many kids start their life into families that come from different backgrounds and have different beliefs, and that is called tradition. Tradition is a powerful motivator because it can alter the human being’s instinct before doing an action, which therefore leads to evil actions and innocence that is lost.
In the stories “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson and “The Snake” by Ervin D. Krause, by following their societal traditions, both characters’ Bobby Martin and the nephew act with instinctual evil and lose their innocence. When kids are born, their future lies in their parent’s hands. Bobby Martin from “The Lottery” is a child that is experiences the lottery every year. He goes through the same event of exterminating the life of the winner with other town members which includes people of his age. In the story the author says, “The Children had stones already. And someone gave little Davy Hutchinson a few pebbles. ” (Jackson 6).
Since Davy Hutchinson’s mother is the ‘winner’, he is still obliged to throw stones at her. This quotation shows how all kids in that town still follow this tradition without even acknowledging that they are doing something evil. Davy and the rest of the Hutchinson family give up their loyalty for their mother and sees that when she is getting approached by him and sees his darkness take over him. The act of throwing stones has a strong religious association with community punishment of abomination and it is used for expelling an outsider to reinforce group beliefs.
The parents from that town all follow this tradition blindly, without acknowledging the evil that they are forcing down on their children which would continue generation after generation. In “The Snake” the narrator has a nephew who is taught that snakes are vicious and iniquitous. After the nephew kills the snake, he takes pride and has no shame. Ervin D. Krause tells the reader, “The snake was hideous, and I remembered, even then, the cool, bright fire of it only a little while before, and I thought perhaps the boy had always seen it dead and hideous like that, and had not even stopped to see the beauty of in its life. (Krause 3).
For instance, the nephew believes he did the right thing, but he is told by the narrator that he is not. The point of view of the uncle is a more mature and knowledgeable way than that of the kid. The nephew has been told that snakes are in fact dangerous by other people which affects the view point of the nephew and how he would be able to act in a situation later on in his life. After all, the parents of a newborn child take it for granted because they can teach them whatever they think is right without acknowledging what the reality is.
If a person picked another person to look at and observe a child, he would say what most people would say, that they are cute and harmless. Bobby Martin is one of the children that witness the lottery many time. He is going through the process of throwing stones at the ‘winner’ for a couple of years now. When the town is gathering for the lottery, the story explains, “Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon follows his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones. ” (Jackson 1). This quote shows how the young kids are already being introduced to violence at such an early age.
When a kid is at his youngest, that time period is the most important because that period will shape the child’s future. Since the boy is taught in that way, he is getting influenced on causing evil without actually thinking of the consequences, and when that does happen, a pool of bad events will happen to him injuring his and his surroundings. The nephew from “The Snake” is a regular kid living his life, and a regular person would see nothing wrong in him. But that changes after he aggressively kills the snake in front of his uncle.
The narrator describes, “I looked closely at his eyes and he was already innocent; the killing was already forgotten in that clear mind of his. ” (Krause 3). The narrator’s description of the boy ultimately changes after he views him killing the snake. The narrator describes the boy as ‘handsome, and warm and newly-scrubbed, with happiness upon his face resembled in his brother’s and his as well’. At the moment of the killing, the uncle loses his innocence and sees the nephew’s inner devil commit his act. The uncle gets shocked and he tries to educate the boy the correct teachings of his opinion.
Later on in the nephew’s life, everyone would view him as an innocent child, but if he were to let his inner demons get a hold of him, his surroundings would see what he is able to do and lose his innocence. For these reasons, both characters lose their innocence when they go through something troubling and there is a spectator watching them. To conclude, the stories “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson and “The Snake” by Ervin D. Krause, both have characters that act differently than what society says is right and lose their innocence after facing scenarios with actions that are filthy.
Tradition is what got humans to live to this very day and they have both negative and positive impacts. Most humans throughout history have followed traditions and culture differently than what other tribes or towns did. Tradition is what shaped humans, but there are also hurting impacts. Tradition can take over a person’s mind and make them act differently which then affects the person and his surroundings. Tradition is what keeps humans alive, but if it were to not be there, god only knows what would happen without it.
Courtney from Study Moose
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