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Creative Use Of Symbolism And Irony In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

617 words - 2 pages

A lottery has always provided a sense of hope and adventure to people, but the lottery takes on an entirely different significance in Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”. The story takes place in a village of roughly three hundred people. Everyone in the village gathers at the center to take part. One representative from each family comes up, to take a piece of paper from an old, black, wooden box. The Hutchinson family has the black dot; each family Hutchinson member then comes up to pick another piece of paper. Mrs. Hutchinson has the second black dot; she is made to come to the center of the circle, and she is stoned to death by the crowd. Shirley Jackson illustrates clearly the brutality in human nature. By using creative symbolism, irony and a dark, mysterious mood, the author creates an excellent reading environment and completes the story with an unanticipated twist.
Symbolism is well established and provides a great deal of depth to the story. The most prevalent symbol is the “…black wooden box...” (Jackson 52). The color black is widely regarded as a symbol of death; therefore, by making the box black, the author hints at a fatality. “The box grew shabbier each year…and in some places faded or stained” (52). The box becomes shabby and faded, which represents how the ritual is outdated and barbaric. There is also another clue suggesting death, and it is the last name of one of the characters: “…Mr. Graves made up the slips of paper and put them in the box...” (55). His name is Graves, implying that someone in the story may be going to a grave, which of course, means death.
Shirley Jackson does a beautiful job of incorporating irony into the story. The name of the man that runs the...

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