Symbolism And Irony In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

analytical Essay
861 words
861 words

Sticking to customs and traditions is good but when they are followed blindly, problems begin. Shirley Jackson’s, “The Lottery” is a short story set in Vermont during the 1940s. This short story is about a lottery that occurs on June twenty- seventh every year in a village of about 300 people. This lottery is unusual because the winner is stoned to death by the people of the village. Tessie Hutchinson, a wife and mother of two, enjoys the lottery until she draws the slip with a black dot, which indicates she has “won” the lottery. The villagers then stone her to death. In the short story “The Lottery,” Shirley Jackson utilizes symbolism and irony to illustrate customs and traditions. In “The Lottery” symbolism is used to illustrate customs …show more content…

Shirley Jackson creates a peaceful mood by writing “…clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green” (Jackson 657). Although Jackson portrays a peaceful and joyful sense nearly throughout whole the story, what actually occurs is the opposite. What makes this story ironic is “…that the story takes place in tranquil and peaceful setting because what actually occurs is brutal and violent” (Timko 2). The way “The Lottery” is written, it “ seems like a festive event but is not” (Mclure, 1276). This also shows customs and traditions because the villager are so used to the lottery that “…the villagers regard the lottery as just another everyday matter to be dealt with…” (Timko 2). Another example of irony is when Mr. Summers said, “ All right folks…Let’s Finish quickly” (Jackson 5). This is ironic because it the villagers are about to kill someone and they are taking an easy approach to it. The same people who are about to stone Tessie Hutchinson to death are the people she was joking around with earlier. The people of the village can get it over with the stoning easily because they are used to it, as it is part of their tradition. The reader can see “The former, the ironic nature of the entire ceremony itself, with its fatal results…” (Timko 2). Shows the village takes the lottery easily even though it such a cruel ritual. The use of irony throughout the story helps show us how accustom the villagers are to the lottery

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how shirley jackson's "the lottery" uses symbolism and irony to illustrate customs and traditions.
  • Analyzes how symbolism is used to illustrate customs and traditions in "the lottery." the date of the lottery is symbolic because ancient rituals took place around this date.
  • Analyzes how the use of irony in "the lottery" shows how accustom the villagers are to the lottery tradition.
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