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Symbolism In Shirley Jackson´S The Lottery

731 words - 3 pages

Throughout the course of humanity, people have sought ways to promote a society where moral unification and motivation are present. It is essential for a community to coincide with such values; therefore, tradition and folklore are transcended though generations as customs which people follow mostly without question. In Shirley Jackson’s short story, The Lottery, such traditions are exploited through a futile box along with a brutal ritual which symbolizes the way a society might mindlessly abide by them and feel powerless to divert from such illogical acts. The storyline contains a constant tone which depicts normalcy to present normalcy itself as seen by the villagers, yet whispers eerie ...view middle of the document...

Another aspect of the society exposed is the way the villagers have somewhat altered the tradition in order to adjust to “modern” times by switching the wooden chips to paper strips. “Chips of wood… had been very well when the village was tiny… [but now] it was necessary to use something that would fit more easily into the black box.” (121) These people were not downright ludicrous; they simply were too much accustomed to what had been transcended and mindlessly obeyed the ancient ritual.
Generally, the significance of the black box and the tradition would be viewed as trivial from an external point of view by another culture. In this community, the box also represents fear from change. The task of simply quitting the malignant habit of conducting this ritual could be as easy as it sounds, but the genuine apprehension of cutting the cycle prevents them from stopping. The black box’s shedding and tearing away symbolizes the pressure the box and the people have withstood throughout the years and how fear itself is a factor. "No one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box" (122)...

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