Allegories In The Lottery

812 Words4 Pages
Symbol of Death “The Lottery,” written by Shirley Jackson in 1948, is a provoking piece of literature about a town that continues a tradition of stoning, despite not know why the ritual started in the first place. As Jackson sets the scene, the villagers seem ordinary; but seeing that winning the lottery is fatal, the villagers are then viewed as murders by the reader. Disagreeing with the results of the lottery, Tessie Hutchinson is exposed to an external conflict between herself and the town. Annually on June 27th, the villagers gather to participate in the lottery. Every head of household, archetypally male, draws for the fate of their family, but Tessie protests as she receives her prize of a stoning after winning the lottery. Jackson uses different symbols – symbolic characters, symbolic acts, and allegories – to develop a central theme: the…show more content…
“In a simple allegory, characters and other elements often stand for other definite meanings, which are often abstractions” (Kennedy 234). Since everyone in the town is involved in the stoning, they do not view their sacrifice as murder, but as something needed to be done. “‘All right, folks,’ Mr. Summers said, ‘Let’s finish this quickly.’” (Jackson 259). The young boys in the town are excited about the lottery, but the girls stand off to the side because it is in a boy’s nature to be brutal, yet the women of the town seem just as excited as the boys, and the men calm down as the girls. “The boys’ eager and childish cruelty will turn into the sober reluctance of their fathers, whereas the childish apartness of the girls will become the grown women’s blood lust” (Whittier 357). Most people associate winning a lottery as coming into a large sum of money; but on the contrary, the winner of this lottery must pay with their ultimate sacrifice. “Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon” (257). Jackson’s use of allegories is sublime, drawing her readers to the central
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