The Lottery Symbolism Essay

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Written by Shirley Jackson, “The Lottery” is a short story about a town that hosts an annual lottery that decides which person is stoned by the rest of the town. Jackson slowly and subtly builds the suspense throughout the story, only resolving the mystery surrounding the lottery at the very last moment, as the townspeople surround Tessie with their stones. The symbolism utilized helps demonstrate the overall significance of the story, such as the lottery itself. The lottery shows the way people desperately cling to old traditions, regardless of how damaging they may be. In addition, it can show how callous many will act while staring at a gruesome situation, until they become the victims. Jackson’s story presents the issue regarding the habit…show more content…
Mrs. Hutchinson runs into the event late, laughing that she had “[c]lean forgot what day it was” (Jackson 292). After that, Mr. Summers, the officiator of the lottery, calls out names of the people who are unable to attend the lottery, and asks for the person who will be drawing for them. There were two people missing, Clyde Dunbar who had broken his leg, and the Watson’s mother. Dunbar’s wife was drawing for him, and it seemed that she was unhappy that she was the one handed this task. Similarly, a boy from the Watson family was nervously drawing for his mother and himself. This is where the tension and the suspense of the story begin to build, as the reader can tell that the characters are growing increasingly worried as more names are called. Mr. Adams and Old Man Warner discuss the north village, a town contemplating abandoning the lottery. Old Man Warner calls them “crazy” (Jackson 294), and that “there’s always been a lottery” (Jackson 294). This is another example of the rigidness of the townspeople when it comes to their old traditions, as well as beginning to show that the lottery isn’t exactly a positive event, as many towns are dropping it. Next, the Hutchinson family is called, meaning that either Mr. or Mrs. Hutchinson or one of their three children will be the winner of the lottery. Mrs. Hutchinson immediately protests, adding to the mystery of the lottery. Considering that most people would be thrilled to be the winner of the lottery, this scene is another indication that the lottery is anything but good. One by one, the Hutchinsons revealed their slips of papers that they drew to determine the winner, and each person that holds a blank shows great relief. The climax of the story arrives as Tessie Hutchinson is revealed to be the winner of the lottery. This simultaneously relieves some of the suspense

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