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Literary Analysis Of "The Lottery"

817 words - 3 pages

We do not really ever wonder about some of the things that our grandparents and parents have taught us, but most likely, those things are traditions. Traditions are passed down from generation to generation and we never think twice about the traditions that we take part in. We do not know why we make up stories about a man who falls down your chimney every year, or a bunny that leaves eggs around the house. We take part in these traditions because we always have, and we do not have any reasons why not to. “The Lottery” is a great example of how people react to traditions. Shirley Jackson reveals in “The Lottery” that many people can be afraid to break the traditions that we have, no matter how bad they are, using indirect characterization, symbolism, and situational irony.
The reader can infer through Jackson's indirect characterization that some of the villagers are becoming unhappy with the inveterate lottery, and some do not seem to mind it. The villagers appear to be too afraid to do anything about it. “'There's always been a lottery,' he added petulantly. 'Bad enough to see young Joe Summers up there joking with everybody.'” (Jackson 2). Here, Old Man Warner is responding to the fact the other towns are getting rid of the lottery. Old Man Warner does not say why the lottery is to go on, but his only argument is that there has always been a lottery. None of the villagers are able to establish an argument on why the lottery needs to come to a cessation. On the other hand, Mr. Summers, who conducts the lottery, does not seem bothered by the lottery. Mr. Summers has to do all of the work behind the lottery. He has to make up the lists of the villagers, get sworn in as the official, and conduct the lottery. Even though Mr. Summers has to go through a great deal of work, he appears to do all of these tasks well and he does not complain about anything. (Jackson 2).
Jackson uses symbolism to convey the attitudes about the lottery from the villagers. She especially uses the black box to show that the villagers are too afraid to quit participating in the lottery. “Mr. Summers spoke frequently to the villagers about making a new box, but no one liked to upset...

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