Reader's Response The Lottery Essay

1386 words - 6 pages

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Jane OudingMr. WeberAP Lit & Comp.22 October 2014The LotteryHow does one repent for their sins? Mustn't something be sacrificed? The Lottery by Shirley Jackson vaguely addresses this idea and the evil that comes with it. In The Lottery begins with a description of children running in the square gathering stones and putting them into piles. The villagers all met in the square at ten o'clock for the lottery. Mr. Summers ran the lottery, pulling out an old black box and a three-legged stool, and calling each family name. The man of each household, or the head of the family, then came forward and drew a sheet of paper from the box and opened it. Whoever drew the sheet with the black dot had to play again. In the second round of the lottery the family that lost the lottery, the Huchtinsons, then each had to pull a piece of paper from the box and the one with the black dot was to be sacrificed, specifically stoned to death.There is a number of symbols throughout the short story that imply a deeper meaning than this surface sacrifice. Quite a few names in the text reveal the characters role in the story, such as Mr. Summers, who was the aficionado of the lottery which took place in the summer, June 27th. Old Man Warner acted not only as an old man unwilling to change his ways, but as a warning to not stray from tradition. The Delacroix family, meaning "of the cross", were the ones most actively participating in the stoning, or the "sacrifice", as their sons made the biggest pile of stones and Mrs. Delacroix participated most eagerly. Mrs. Graves served as a sort of foreshadowing to death and the grave. Lastly, Steve Adams', a man in the front of the crowd, name was an illusion to the first sinners, Adam and Eve. This can be inferred by St-Eve Adams.Objects throughout the story also act as symbols. The old black box that was said to be made of broken bits and pieces of the previous lottery box symbolized the Bible, how the New Testament is bits and pieces of the Old Testament refurbished to fit the culture. This symbolism can also be inferred because bibles often have black covers, similar to the black paint of the box. The box also symbolizes a traditional mind set, thinking inside the box. It represented the lottery and tradition which people were reluctant and fearful to participate in, but unwilling to oppose. The wobbly three-legged stool that the box rested on represented the Holy Trinity; the Father, son and Holy Spirit. The box rested upon the stool the way the bible, the word of God, rests upon God himself. The method of sacrifice was a religious symbol as well, being the oldest and most prevalent form of execution in the bible. The first Christian martyrs were stoned to death and serve as a symbol for the innocent being executed, and the executions being stonings meant no one person was responsible for the death, it was communal. The smooth and round stones show the importance of the sacrifice and how not just any stone is...

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