Theme Of Symbolism In The Lottery By Shirley Jackson

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“The Lottery” is a short story written by Shirley Jackson in the month of June in 1948. The story is about an annual tradition, called the lottery, held in an anonymous small village. All of the villagers gather for the annual event and Mr. Summers conducts a quick roll call. Each one of the residents of the village draws a piece of paper from the black box. As this happens, the villagers start to talk with one another how some nearby villages have stopped following the tradition of the lottery. The oldest man in the village, Old Man Warner, scoffs at the idea of giving up the tradition of the lottery and says there has always been a lottery in the village they live. Finally, Bill Hutchinson, the head of his household, draws a paper with a …show more content…
Symbolism is the use of a person, place, or thing that represents something beyond itself. Most often it’s something concrete or tangible that represents an abstract an idea. One example of symbolism in “The Lottery” is the stones. There is a reason that Shirley Jackson put on a crowd-generated death by stoning. In other words, stones allow everyone in the village to freely take part in the ritual, from the young children to Old Man Warner. The terror of "The Lottery" isn't just that someone is killed, it's that everyone participates in the murder. As the author of “The Lottery” observes, “Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones” (Jackson 76). Stones are also remarkable as murder weapons because the first human utensils were made of stone. What is more interesting is that stoning comes up specifically in the religious writings of all three of the Abrahamic religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Stoning has a powerful religious attachment with community punishment of abomination. In other words, stoning is the classic manner for getting rid of an outsider to reinforce group beliefs (Shmoop …show more content…
She uses symbolic names to give her story universal significance. Mr. Summers represents the liveliness of the season in the story, which is summer. Mr. Graves represents the notion of death that runs through the short story and the serious demeanor of the story. Finally, Old Man Warner characterizes the voice of the past, warning the citizens of the town that breaking with tradition will have appalling consequences (eNotes). An example of this would be when the other villagers are discussing how other villages have stopped doing a lottery. Old Man Warner then says, "Listening to the young folks, nothing's good enough for them. Next thing you know, they'll be wanting to go back to living in caves, nobody work anymore...there's always been a lottery," (Jackson 4). Old Man Warner discusses that “there’s nothing but trouble” in unfollowing the traditional lottery. He also states that discontinuing the tradition will bring dire consequences to the

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