Symbolism in "The Lottery"

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In the story, The Lottery by Shirley Jackson, we are introduced to a small New England Town, which is not named. In the opening of the story, we are given a picture of summer. The beginning of the summer for most is usually a time of great expectations, planting of gardens, school getting out and the smell of the sweet flowers, carried by the breeze. In the short story “ The Lottery” it welcomes the reader with that image, it paints a picture that we are all familiar with. Within in this small New England town, there exists a sense of tradition; rebelliousness and conformity are just a few central themes that carry this story. One person speaks out about this savage tradition, others may agree, but no voice is raised to accompany the rebelliousness of one villager. In the end, they all follow the herd and partake in the sacrifice of their fellow villager. This paper will show the symbolism that supports the mentioned themes.

The Black Box, when we first hear about the box, we are still under the impression that box carries a joyful message for the winner of the lottery. The box represents tradition. However, we soon discover the tradition is a ritual, a ritual of human sacrifice. The box is indeed the messenger of death, holding the name of all the towns’ people in waiting of winning “ The lottery”. The color of the box is black; this color is associated with death as well. “There was a story that the present box had been made with some pieces of the box that had preceded it, the one that had been constructed when the first people settled down to make a village here.” Making the reader aware of the longevity of this box and ritual. Jackson describes the box as being as being tattered and old in form, as in this ...

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... wife or mother, who is about to be brutally killed. They conform with tradition and seem more concerned about the rest of their day’s activities.

Although, the story The Lottery was written in back in 1948, it resembles society of today, the masss tend to conform, but there is always one voice that can start people thinking. Tessie, rebelled against the tradition with speaking out, And Old Man Warner attended his 71 lottery an still didn’t win. The back box remains, weathered and old a bearer of unfortunate news. The crowd has left the center of town and the day is back to it’s normal schedule…until the following June 27.

In conclusion, although we find out that winner of The Lottery is not actually a winner at all, but what we, the reader find out is that the ritual is actually the winner. Traditon stands tall, and the villagers get a strong harvest.
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