Setting And Symbolism In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

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The Lottery This short story begins with a scene in a small village of polite folks gathering together for an event that happens every year in the town square. The reader is introduced to an enlightening story which gives the idea that someone will end up winning a grand prize. Instead, this lottery is held in the village in which one person will end their life by being stoned to death. For seventy years, this lottery has been held in the town square. Shirley Jackson uses setting, symbolism, and characterization to help the reader understand her short story, “The Lottery.” On the day of the lottery, the sky was clear and sunny. It is a warm summer day with flowers blossoming everywhere. The folks in the village gather together in the …show more content…
Summers arrives to the town square with the black wooden box. Mr. Graves, who is following Mr. Summers, is carrying a three-legged stool. The villagers will draw slips of paper from the black box. The old worn looking black box is a tradition that the villagers will not change. The box is falling apart, but no one is willing to replace it. Why is this box symbolic? In history, the box was revealed to be “wood color,” and “had been constructed by the first people who settled down to make villages” (Nebeker 1). The present box was made from some of the original pieces of wood from the first constructed box. Jackson suggests that this box symbolizes “the body of tradition—once oral but now written—which the dead hand of the past codified in religion, mores, government, and the rest of culture, and passed from generation to generation, letting it grow ever more cumbersome, meaningless, and indefensible” (2). The black box represents life and death for every person in the village. The black color symbolizes evil and death. The black box rests upon a three-legged stool, which represents the Christian Trinity, which is pure and holy. The black box represents sin and evil. The village people support the fact that someone will be stoned to death. They believe that God would have wanted them to sacrifice people. The names of the people in this story hold significant meanings. The author uses symbolic names. The name “Delacroix” (Jackson 2) is the meaning “Of the Cross” (Nebeker 1). “Summers” (Jackson 4) is the sir name of the officer of the Lottery. This annual event takes place in the summer. Mr. Summer’s assistant’s names is “Mr. Graves” (4), which insinuates that there will be a “Grave” during the “summer”. Jackson uses the names in her short story as a sign for the winner’s prize, which ends in a horrific death of being stoned from the

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