The Lottery Essay

1247 words - 5 pages

1 "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson is a story about a small town community that holds a lottery every year. The story is about how the villagers gather up for the lottery to make a sacrifice for the ritual. The way the story ends with one of the townspeople being stoned as a result of winning the lottery makes it a story a little horror. A greater expression of the story reveals that the story is about tradition. Jackson's views on tradition are clearly negative through this short story. The villagers allow an old-fashioned tradition to run their lives and control whether they live or die. Jackson uses symbolism to show that devotion to tradition can be dangerous. Although tradition is often considered to be positive, in "The Lottery," tradition is something unwanted and even deadly.The black box, one of the most threatening of Jackson's symbols, exposes the villagers' attitude towards the tradition of the lottery. The objects in the story also symbolize religious and symbolic significances to the lottery. "Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones" this clearly shows that the kids were picking up stones and the reason they were picking up the smoothest stones is because rocks would most likely kill someone, but with smooth stones, it would be a slow death to someone because of the smoothness of the stones. The black box signifies an old tradition. The box is "splintered badly along one side to show the original wood color, and in some places faded or stained". She describes the box as "growing shabbier every year", presenting that a lot years has passed since the lottery's beginning. By describing the box, Jackson is using it to symbolize how the original tradition has lost its original meaning over the years and how this tradition is still not being questioned. Even though the villager responsible for conducting the lottery, Mr. Summers recommends having a new box, "no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box". This represents that the box, damaged like the tradition itself, is still maintained by the townspeople, who do not want to change the lottery's tradition. The black box is used to draw pieces of paper for the lottery.The two objects used to in the story are both religious. The black box holds the significant meaning between life and death for every villager. It symbolizes the evil acts that have been performed in the past and the ones in the future. The three legged stool symbolizes the Christian Trinity. Each leg is a representation of God the father, God the son, and the Holy Spirit. It signifies that God would have wanted the village people to sacrifice innocent people. The symbolism is significant because they influence the religion to support the violence and thinking that it's normal to kill someone because of traditional reasons relating to religion. The ending is the only purpose in...

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