The traditions of a society are a significant representation of the history, faith, and language of the group. However, allowing tradition to blindly influence human relationships and interactions can be harmful. Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" depicts the consequences that relate to society's quest for perfection through tradition. Characters strive to solidify tradition but they become blindly influenced by their ambition in the process. Similarly, "Battle Royal" by Ralph Ellison conveys the way African Americans behaved when choosing between their natural self and what was expected of them as members of society. Essentially, the stories target the negative effect tradition holds on human relationships and interactions from a psychological point of view. The irony of the title, "The Lottery" as well as the banquet hall setting in "Battle Royale" depict the hidden violence behind tradition. Additionally, the motifs that drives the characters and their actions displays the immoral aspects of human character and the loss of identity one can suffer. Ultimately, Jackson and Ellison demonstrate the immoral aspects of human nature, loss of identity one can experience and the hidden violence in society. Both authors portray the negative effects tradition can imprint on human relationships and interactions.
To begin with, both Jackson and Ellison successfully convey the immoral aspects of human behavior when dealing with the effects of tradition. To illustrate, one's indifference to others misfortunes shamelessly reveals the reality of tradition and its influence over human behavior. The significance of the lottery is unapparent to the townspeople as it is shown through their nonchalant attitude. For example, as the townspeople continue to gather for the ritual, Mr. Summers casually says, "guess we better get started, get this over with so's we can go back to work" (Jackson 2).