Essay on Shirley Jackson's The Lottery - Effective Use of Character Names

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Effective Use of Character Names in The Lottery “The common curse of mankind, --folly and ignorance” (Shakespeare). Were he alive, William Shakespeare might fully endorse Shirley Jackson’s ideas as presented in The Lottery. The author, Jackson, very distinctly uses symbolic names for her characters to show the ignorance of the sacrificial lottery, which the small village holds year after year. These sacrifices, which used to be held to appease the god of harvest, have grown meaningless in their culture. Jackson uses the characters not only to visualize the story for the reader, but also each one has a meaning, which adds to the ultimate theme. One of the leaders and MOST important MEN of the town is Mr. Summers. Summer is a season of the year. It is the season of growing, the season of life. His name represents partly the old pagan fertility ritual because the harvest that is being sacrificed to is being grown in the summer. This is supposedly, according to Old Man Warner, what the lottery held each year was all about. But, in this case, the harvest should be fine because the setting of the story tells us that “the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green” (74). Mr. Summers did many things to slowly wean the old tradition, the old harshness, out of the ordeal. He had the wooden chips replaced with more convenient slips of paper. He also “spoke frequently...about making a new box” (75), so, therefore, he also represented new ideas as well as old. The new ideas that the close-minded village people would not accept. If given the chance, Mr. Summers would have more than likely accepted and backed the motion to cease the lottery and stop the sacrifice. Even though... ... middle of paper ... ...haracters names to symbolize meanings that she could not get across to the reader any other way. She showed how Mr. Graves’ sacrificial killing and Old Man Warner’s strong tradition was too much of a history for Mr. Summers new ideas and young Watson’s realizations. Mrs. Hutchinson still got her hand in the box and the stone up the side of her head. I AM NOT SURE HOW, BUT YOU CAUSED ME TO LAUGH AT SUCH A SOLOMN STORY. YOU DID A VERY GOOD JOB RESEARCHING YOUR TOPIC AND CITING YOUR SOURCES. BE CAREFUL NOT TO USE CONTRACTION AND AVOID SLANG TERMS. I THOUGHT YOUR CONCLUSION WAS A LITTLE ABRUPT, BUT IT WAS NOT BAD. OVERALL THIS WAS A VERY GOOD PAPER AND I ENJOYED READING IT. Works Cited: Jackson, Shirley. "The Lottery." 1949 Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama Ed. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 6th ed. New York: HarperCollins, 1995.

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