Imagery And Symbolism In The Lottery By Shirley Jackson

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The Lottery was written in 1948 by seasoned author, Shirley Jackson. The short story, originally published in The New Yorker, is about a small village of roughly three hundred citizens that gather in the village square. They are there to participate in the yearly lottery to see who will be stoned to death. Whole families are present to participate, even the children help by gathering the stones that will be used. The lottery consists of two sets of drawings; the first one to be done by the head of the household, then, the second, only the family that was chosen in the initial drawing goes up to pick. Though told from a third-party objective narrative, the feeling of doom can be felt building as the story progresses. Throughout the story, there …show more content…
One type is the religious representations that appear in the tale. One of the characters, Dickie Delacroix, for example, was given a French name that “means of the cross” (Cervo). This could be a reference to Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross. Since both the villager and Jesus were killed to please the crowd, it can be seen as similar, especially with the tie in of the character’s last name as stated above. Another symbol I found was the date in which the lottery was held. It was held on the morning of June 27th. “Twenty-seven is three cubed” and could possibly be a reference to the holy Trinity (Cervo). This date is also close to the summer solstice, in which several different religions consider to be a holy day. In addition, the black box that was used for the drawing held meaning. I interpreted the box, which once held wooden coins but now holds small strips of paper, to be an omen of what is to come. Symbolism appears again in the character that was the overseer and leader of the lottery, Mr. Summers. It has been said that he symbolizes “the evils of capitalism and social stratification” (Wilson). Therefore, since this was written around the time of World War II, this could be true. Besides Mrs. Delacroix and Mr. Summers, there was one more character that I found whose name has some symbolism. Mr. Graves not only “represents tradition and the status quo,” but also has a sinister name considering he was an …show more content…
The setting itself was ironic. Although it was a grim event, the day was a “clear and sunny” summer day with blooming flowers and “the grass was richly green” (Roberts and Zweig). Shirley Jackson gave this horrific and vicious event a serene setting. Moreover, I felt that the setting helped to assist in hiding the true meaning behind the lottery, since that was not revealed until the end of the story. One other example of irony was the victim, Tessie Hutchinson, because she was the last person to arrive for the drawing. Her husband Bill is the one that initially picks the slip of paper; this causes his family to be chosen for the final lottery. Thus Tessie is outraged and claims that it is unfair, but she does go along with her family to pick her slip of paper. Consequently, she ends up being the one to receive the black dot indicating that she would be the one to face being stoned to death by the other

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