So your small town has read The Lottery and determined that is the best way for your society to advance. Bummer. Now there is a very good chance that you’re going to get stoned with your friends. And while everyone might secretly agree with you that the practice is barbaric, they aren’t going to go against tradition. However, there is hope! In the book The Hunger Games, they have a very similar system to the lottery known as the reaping. But one young woman named Katniss Everdeen was able to start as resistance that took down the entire system and brought democracy to every district in her country. By following her example, you too can bring freedom and democracy to your small town.
In The Lottery, the town sees the lottery as a kind of civic duty. They are expected to attend the ceremony a draw their own lots. There is a very similar situation in the Hunger Games, but Katniss flips the script on them. She purposely volunteers for the reaping to save her sister from certain death (something that Mr. Hutchinson isn’t even willing to do for the mother of his children).
Now, maybe volunteering in your lottery isn’t the greatest choice for your personal health. However, it might be the beginning of a revolution that is greatly needed. As Thomas Paine once said, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” In theory, it’s the same situation as the lottery; you are sacrificing yourself for the good of your community. However, it would show the community that you were willing to something not just for the community, but for an individual. And if you break the tradition of killing the person that chooses the black spot, what is the point of the lottery?
So you might be asking, “But what about other ways of resisting that don’t end up with me being killed?” That’s a fair question. So what else did Katniss do to resist the in The Hunger Games? While Katniss was participating in the Hunger Games, she was able to do something that hadn’t happened for 74 years; unite the districts against their oppressor. While the districts were the majority across their nation, they failed to rise up against the government because they couldn’t unite themselves around a common cause. However, all they needed was a spark from Katniss to unite across the nation. In The Lottery it is mentioned that there are several towns that have already gotten rid of the lottery. While old-man Warren isn’t a fan, there is clearly a movement that is already starting to take place to overthrow the lottery. And the people’s unwillingness to talk about repairing the lottery box or staying with the traditions shows a willingness to stop using the lottery. Even just uniting a few small towns in a localized area would be enough to show the benefits of change and eliminate the lottery.
So maybe you’re not an awesome archer with incredible survival skills. However, you can still be active in motivating people to bring about change. As Alexis de Tocqueville states, “I hold it to be an impious and an execrable maxim that, politically speaking, a people has a right to do whatsoever it pleases, and yet, I have asserted that all authority originates in the will of the majority.” (Democracy in America, p 299) While Tocqueville saw this as a bad thing, the majority often brings around political change for the good, such as the civil rights movement and the American Revolution. It isn’t easy to break tradition, but people are often more likely to accept change once they see the benefits for themselves. May the odds be ever in your favor.