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Symbolism as a Literary Element Essay

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There are an uncountable number of ideas to write about for stories. Authors may choose to write about the same general idea or many during their career. These ideas may be fictional, realistic, or a combination of both. Combining a realistic issue or idea with a fictional story may be used to point out a controversial issue in society. This may put forth an idea about the situation making one think about it. Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” and Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” portrays this fictional view on issues in society; whether having happened, happening, or could happen. Certain elements may be used to show this, one being symbolism. Specific elements may be analyzed to reveal comparison or contrast.
The background of authors may bring important insight into their stories. Jackson was born in 1916, during the time where society was sexist against women.
The setting of a story puts forth an expectation as it is read. Both of these stories portray a seemingly perfect place, but with one vital flaw. In the beginning of “The Lottery,” by Jackson, it begins with portraying a beautiful day, “the morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day” (Jackson 237). The beautiful day starts the reader off on a happy note, unsuspecting to what will come. The lottery is seen as happy time, the possibility of winning money or something else of value. This is not a traditional lottery. Amy Griffin says in her article “Jackson’s The Lottery,” that “the lottery represented a grave experience” (Griffin 45). In a seemingly peaceful town, the lottery comes once a year to decide who will die as a sacrifice. The death will sustain the town’s seemingly perfect state. The setting p...


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...Who Walk Away from Omelas”.” Short Stories
for Student. Detroit: Gale, 2002. Literature Resource Center. Web. 20 Feb. 2012.
“Jackson, Shirley, 1919-1965.” Literature Online biography. ProQuest: LLC, 2008.
Literature Online. Web. 14 March. 2012.
Jackson, Shirley. “The Lottery.” Backpack Literature: An Introduction to Fiction,
Poetry, Drama, and Writing. 3rd ed. Ed. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. New York: Longman. 2010. 237-244. Print.
Le Guin, Ursula K. “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.” Backpack Literature: An
Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. 3rd ed. Ed. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. New York: Longman. 2010. 230-236. Print.
Webster’s New World Dictionary with Student Handbook. The Southwestern Company.
1981. 665. Print.
Yarmove, Jay A. “Jackson’s The Lottery.” Explicator. 52:4(1994): 252-5. Literature
Online. 20 Feb. 2012.


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