Comparing Theme And Symbolism Essay

858 words - 3 pages

Described as "a thoroughly chilling and unsettling story" (Porter), The Lottery was written by Shirley Jackson in 1948. In a letter to poet Howard Nemerov, she wrote, "...I have always loved to use fear...I delight in what I fear" (Guran).James Joyce was "born into a well-off Catholic family in Dublin, Ireland" (Barger). He later rejected Catholicism in favor of literature (Barger).Theme and symbolism are prevalent in the writings of both these authors. The plots are easy to follow, and yet they are very different.In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery, the main theme is how traditions that lose their meaning due to human forgetfulness can cause dreadful consequences to occur. James Joyce's Araby is a story of first love and disappointment.The Lottery is set in a small town on a June morning. It opens with false innocence, using the children building a rock pile, tricking the reader into an unaware state. The reader almost expects the lottery to be something wonderful since the "normal" lottery has the winner getting a prize of a large amount of money or possession. The story even improves upon the innocence, explaining how the town also holds square dances, teenage clubs and the Halloween program in the same spot that the lottery is held.In Araby, the boy's first love becomes the focal point of his determination. Mangan's sister is obviously older than the boy and his friends. Still, she becomes the object of his admiration. He is obsessed with watching her. After the boy's emotional indulgence, he is almost speechless when she speaks to him. She speaks to him about Araby. He promises to bring her a gift from this bazaar because of a retreat that she must attend with her convent. It is obvious, but not stressed that she is taking advantage of his infatuation. His promise interrupts his life as he becomes preoccupied with his mission.In The Lottery, we discover that the town-folk use a lottery to pick a "winner" to stone to death. The winner is picked using a black box that has been around for ages and has even been rebuilt with parts supposedly from the original black box. Within the box are slips of paper, enough for the entire town. On one slip of paper is a black dot for the one lucky winner.It, the lottery, could have taken place in any small town across America. Jackson uses a lot of symbolism to show this. The black box, at first, symbolizes some type of mystery, but closer to the ending, it becomes synonymous with doom. Someone's fate lies in an inanimate...


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