The Lottery Symbolism

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Jake Semanco Instructor Dave Mackinder English 1220 16 May 2014 “The Lottery” All over the world, people of different countries celebrate their own special traditions. In America, we also celebrate our special traditions including Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc. Little do any of us know about the origins of those holidays in which we get together with our beloved families and have a wonderful time off school and/or work. We celebrate these times because they were taught to us by our parents and grew up celebrating them. For example, let’s look at Halloween. Halloween is a holiday that has its fair share of superstitious beliefs. “It began as a Celtic end-of-summer festival during which people felt especially close to deceased relatives and friends.” They believed that the transition between the fall and winter seasons was basically a bridge between the world of the living, and the world of the dead. (History of Halloween) There are also a lot of symbols that represent Halloween, the biggest symbol being Jack-o-Lantern’s. Most people do not know where the carving of Jack-o-Lantern’s came from either. The carving of Jack-o-Lantern’s go all the way back to an Irish myth about a man named “Stingy Jack”. Stingy Jack was a man who invited the Devil to have a drink with him on occasion. He played a trick on the Devil so the Devil could climb up a tree to grab a piece of fruit. While the Devil was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree bark that would not allow the Devil to come down unless the Devil agreed not to bother Jack for ten years. Jack died soon after. God would not allow Jack to get into Heaven and the Devil would not allow Jack to get into Hell. The Devil sent Jack off... ... middle of paper ... ...pson’s episode, and was made into a TV movie 50 years later after being published. “The Lottery” is Shirley Jackson’s most recognized piece of work, although she has written a couple of novels and even a children’s book (Shirleyjackson.org). Hopefully the children’s book does not have the same meaning like “The Lottery” does. From even the very title of the story until the very end of the story, symbolism and setting both play huge roles in developing the tones of detached, calm, and cynical throughout Shirley Jackson’s story. Her negative point of view about community traditions and rituals seems to become pretty clear to the reader towards the end of the story, or the stoning of Tess Hutchinson. Jackson seems to be right about how our society sticks to our thousand year old rituals without even having the slightest clue about from which they were originated.

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