The Lottery Symbolism

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Danny Torres Jr. Professor Walters ENG 102 April 20, 2014 “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, is a short story about an annual lottery that is drawn in a small town. Every year a lottery is held, in which one person is arbitrarily selected to be stoned to death by the people in the village. The lottery has been adopted for over many years by its inhabitants. Jackson uses setting, objects, and names to disguise the actual meaning and objective of the lottery through the tradition of symbolism. The names of some characters hold suggestive meanings to “The Lottery.” Jackson uses figurative names to signify and foreshadow what will happen after the lottery is conducted. The name “Dellacroix,” is the meaning of “Of the cross” in French. It is also derived from the Spanish meaning “De La Cruz” which means the same thing. “…the villagers pronounced this name “Dellacroy.”” (Jackson 1). In that sentence, it shows the villagers articulating Dickie’s last name incorrectly, therefore, suggesting the Christian representation of martyrdom. “Summers” (Jackson 4) is the surname of the conductor of the Lottery. He is the individual who prepares the slips of paper that will go into the black box and calls the names of the people who draw the papers. He is also one of the village leaders. The lottery occurs during each summer. Mr. Summers has an assistant, the postmaster, who goes by the name “Mr. Graves.” This surname and its suggestive nature indicates that there will be a “grave” in the summer. The author uses these names to foretell the winner’s prize, a vicious stoning from the villagers. The objects in the story represent spiritual and figurative meanings to the lottery. “Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and ... ... middle of paper ... ...d the setting. “The Lottery” remains applicable in our culture today. The story in of itself epitomizes tradition, the undisputed traditions that survive not just in the culture of “The Lottery.” “The Lottery” strongly demonstrates the collective mindset of Mr. Hutchinson and the rest of the villagers who contributed in the stoning of his own wife. Oftentimes people lose their distinctiveness, and are often peer-pressured into doing something that they do not want to do. When analyzing the text, Mr. Hutchinson went from clowning with his wife to slaughtering her in a short period of time exemplifies how recklessly individuals can have a change of heart. In the end, the tradition needed to be changed by the victim, Mrs. Hutchinson, but then it was too late and the tradition lives on even though it is not the best of traditions by stoning another individual to death.

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