June 27th starts out with the "warmth of a full-summer day", yet a brutal murder interrupts this ordinary morning (144). An innocent woman is killed. Her life is stolen in order to satisfy one town's tradition. Family, friends, and enemies responsible for her death had enough experience with this practice that they "only half listened to the directions" (146). However, as the people anxiously await the end of this annual, ritualistic event known as the lottery, no one expresses a single opinion about the behavior. In the short story "The Lottery" the author Shirley Jackson utilizes several propaganda techniques in order to show that people need to think for themselves. .
To begin with, exigency, one of the main techniques of propaganda Jackson uses shows that when people don"t have enough time to think they blindly follow the crowd. From the beginning, the villagers rush the lottery and expect it to last "less than two hours," (144). This seems an unreasonably short period of time for the event, considering that the village consists of three hundred people. The villagers start off the day with a fixed mindset of simply getting the lottery over with quickly so they can return to their ordinary lives, not giving much thought to the actual event. Also, as the conductor of the lottery, Mr. Summers pressures individuals to hurry by making comments such as "Let's finish quickly," and "get this over with" (145). Rushing the lottery transforms the ritual to a mindless act in which nobody stops to think about they crime they will soon commit. .
Jackson uses not only just-plain-folks, but also tradition to underscore the mindless ritualistic nature of this behavior. Nearly every aspect of the villagers" lives, from the "faded house dresses and sweaters" they wear to their discussions of "planting rain, tractors and taxes" convey their simplistic lifestyles (145). The lottery, which leads to the horrific crime of murder, seems less appalling due to the fact that ordinary folks commit it simply as a ritual.