The Color Black In The Lottery, By Shirley Jackson

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First and foremost, the use of the color black plays an important role in this story. Black is culturally used to portray darkness, evil, and death. With the removal of light, darkness prevails. The black box that people draw the slip of paper for the lottery is one of the objects that Shirley Jackson uses to foreshadow the end of the story. The black box represents the tradition of the lottery in that village. It is even older than the oldest man in the village. Nobody in town really knows the history of the box except it was made from the original box pieces; nobody knows if the sacrifice even works but it remains. Even though “The black box grew shabbier each year,” (Jackson, 67) villagers are unwilling to replace it just like their stubborn …show more content…
Each name conveys different meanings but they all suit the characters and are used to hint to readers about the final meaning of the lottery. Shirley Jackson starts with the name “Delacroix”. “Delacroix” means “of the cross.” (Nebeker, 102) The villagers also mispronounce the name; They say “Dellacroy” instead of “Delacroix”. The mispronouncing the name means villagers twists the meaning of the cross, which symbolizes death in Christianity. Shirley Jackson brings Mrs. Delacroix to the readers as Mrs. Hutchinson’s friend. However, she is also the one that picks up too big of a stone which requires two hands to kill her friend. She also rushes others to join that horrible killing ceremony. Mrs. Delacroix is a typical example of the corruption of religion. Mr. Summer is in charge of all civic activities, and the lottery is one of them. Mr. Summer’s name is another symbol which is used in the story. The lottery is held every summer, “Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon” said Old Man Warner. As the tradition does, this year’s lottery is on a clear and sunny summer day. On the other hand, Mr. Summer’s assistants name is Mr. Graves. The contradiction of the two names make the readers question what will happen in the lottery which is held by Mr. Summer and Mr. Graves. Mr. Graves is postman of the town; he is also responsible for choosing the unlucky person who …show more content…
The black box is resting on a three-legged stool. Number three significantly represents the Christian Trinity while the black box symbolizes death and evil (Nebeker, 106). Villagers use the religion to support their inhuman ceremony in the belief that it is acceptable to murder an innocent person for religious reason. Beside, Old Man Warner has already been attending in the lottery for seventy-seven years. Seven is considered a lucky number in several cultures. Old Man Warner is lucky to survive through seventy-seven times in the lottery. In conclusion, the Lottery is a short story about an outdated, inhuman ceremony which is happening every year in a village in the 20th century. By the use of symbolism in colors, character’s names, and numbers throughout the story, Shirley Jackson obliquely exposes the true meaning of the lottery. The lottery is an old tradition that scarifies one person a year for a bumper harvest. Nobody knows about the history of this tradition. Although the tradition is atrocious, the masses still blindly

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