Symbols In The Lottery By Shirley Jackson

Superior Essays
Symbolism and Tradition The short story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, takes place in a small town that has strong traditional values. Jackson conceals the darkness behind the lottery, by using symbolization and characterization. It is not until very close to the end of the story that the story comes full circle and readers find the true significance behind the lottery. Shirley Jackson utilizes symbolism and subtle element to demonstrate the standardized demonstrations of the characters, to depict the dark lottery box as an all-inclusive image for death in her short story, and the cycle of traditions that carries on in "The Lottery."
Jackson begins her story by describing a small town. “The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny,
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The black box which contains the tiny pieces of paper that change the life of one unlucky person that year. Reading for the first time I didn’t see the black box as something bad, but as something that the town had used year after year to conduct the lottery. After understanding the full concept of the lottery, the black box becomes something darker, something more symbolic than holding pieces of paper. I now see why the box is black. Black can be portrayed as a symbol of darkness, death, and mourning. In society, people wear black to funerals in a sign of mourning. And once the sun goes down during the day everything is dark during the night, some people are scared of the dark because it’s a sign of the unknown. The symbolic meaning of the black box symbolized darkness because the people of this town know the outcome of the lottery at the end of the day. It will not boy joyous or happy. The black box represents the death of one of the town’s person’s, because the person who is drawn from this box will decide the family who will be chosen and one of the family members will be the one who will die. The black box also represents mourning because once the person perishes at the hands of the townspeople they will mourn her, as she is seen as a sacrifice for their traditions. They do not believe they are doing wrong so in their eyes they are still able to mourn the loss of Tess. The reaction Tess …show more content…
Mr. Adams tells Old Man Warner, “In the north village they’re talking of giving up the lottery.”(Jackson 246) This really upsets Mr. Warner. He obviously is very traditional because he makes reference to the north village listening to the younger folk and that is what is wrong with the society. The tradition of the lottery in this town holds a true purpose in the older folk. Jackson shows this from the beginning to the end of the story. They hold the lottery on the same day every year, follow the same steps year after year from begging to end, as well as use the same materials each year. It is mentioned in the book that instead of pieces of paper they used to use wood chips, but they became too old and brittle to use. Once it is revealed in the end why they conduct the lottery each year, it makes the reader wonder what the purpose of the tradition is. Why is it that they can’t just stop the lottery? I wish that Jackson would have reiterated on this some more, but at the end of the lottery she leaves us with a lot of unanswered questions.
In summary, Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”, has a strong use of characterization, symbolism, and tradition. She makes good use of foreshowing throughout the story to pull her readers in. It is not until close to the end when the readers see the true picture behind the lottery, and are fully able to piece together the story from beginning to end. As the

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