Symbolism In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery And Harrison Bergeron

1001 Words 5 Pages
ystopian writings have always been an lenient entryway for authors to deliver a message and occasionally cryptic lesson to fellow readers. The idea is for the readers to discover the true meanings or warnings amid the details. Through the use of symbolism, Shirley Jackson and Kurt Vonnegut Jr., authors of “The Lottery” and “Harrison Bergeron,” both highlight the jeopardy of blindly following traditions and customs, while also expecting a moral outcome.

To begin with, Jackson utilizes symbolism in “The Lottery” to present the concept of tradition throughout the story. One of the main forms is the little black box that sits on the stool, ready to be used to dictate who will be chosen for this year’s lottery. However, readers later learn that
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Jackson writes, “Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones...” (Jackson, 1) At first glance, readers do not realize nor understand that soon enough, these young boys will stone Tessie Hutchinson to death, because the town’s lottery is meant to choose the annual sacrifice. However, this scene-and more specifically-these kids holding the stones, is not only meant to signify the short, but harrowing death of Tessie, but to also indicate the entire community’s wrongdoing. It is used to depict the idea that the entire community joins together and acts as a whole to take part in Tessie Hutchinson’s murder. Even the youngest children, even her own children do not see this as any form of a crime or wrongdoing. The annual event is tradition, a tradition that these children will live by until their old aged death, or until their own …show more content…
repeatedly emphasizes the danger in blindly following a tradition or custom. In “The Lottery,” the community did not understand why the practice of stoning a person to death was a wrongdoing because each and every one of them were raised to believe that there must be a human sacrifice in order for the next harvest to be plentiful. As well as “Harrison Bergeron,” no one besides Harrison and ‘his empress’ chooses to stand up for what they believe is right, and they do not stand their ground. They involuntarily follow this idea of degrading each other to a certain low standard of being average, and not striving to be the best of what they could be, like they were once raised. In each short story, there was a specific practice or system that was believed to bring good to all the people and affect each and every individual positively, but towards the end, the villagers in “The Lottery” were indoctrinated, and so was the country in “Harrison Bergeron.” This philosophy of following a tradition brings a precarious outcome, because the aftermath is not always

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