The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

1316 Words3 Pages

In “The Lottery”, Jackson wrote about a special tradition of a small village. June 27th was warm and sunny, and it gave the impression like nothing could possibly go wrong. Everyone knows the lottery as an exciting thing, and everybody wants to win, but this lottery is unlike any other. This lottery was actually the tradition of stoning of an innocent villager; that year it was Tessie Hutchinson. Though the horrific ending was not expected, throughout the story Jackson gave subtle hints that this was not an average lottery. Jackson foreshadowed the death of Tessie Hutchinson with stones, the black box, and the three legged stool; she showed that unquestioning support of tradition can be fatal.
The stones played of one the largest parts in foreshadowing and symbolism. The reader can overlook the significance of the stones because in the beginning they did not seem out of the ordinary. Children were playing and collecting stones prior to the lottery, but the reader has no idea that the stones are going to be used to kill Tessie Hutchinson. Jackson started foreshadowing with a subtle hint, “Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets with stones, and the other boys soon followed in his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones” (Jackson). Jackson explained that the children were picking up smooth stones, not jagged, spiky rocks, which could kill a person faster. Although picking up smooth rocks may seemed like a trivial detail, Jackson was actually foreshadowing the ending. Jackson showed the regularity of the stoning, “... eventually made a great pile of stones in one corner of the square and guarded it against the raids of the other boys” (Jackson). The boys treated as if it was a game; the boys felt the need to gua...

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...he villagers would never forget the stoning.
Throughout the story, Jackson shows, with the use of symbolism and foreshadowing, that blindly following a tradition can have horrific consequences. All the objects connect with the ending. Since the villagers unquestionably accepted the tradition, they have allowed murder to become embedded in their town.

Works Cited

Jackson, Shirley. The Lottery. New York: Popular Library, 1949. Print.
Kennedy, X. J., and X. J. Kennedy. The Bedford Guide for College Writers: With Reader, Research Manual, and Handbook. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2005. Print.
Nebeker, Helen E. "'The Lottery': Symbolic Tour de Force." American Literature 46.1 (Mar. 1974): 100-107. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Christopher Giroux and Brigham Narins. Vol. 87. Detroit: Gale Research, 1995. Literature Resource Center. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how jackson foreshadowed the death of tessie hutchinson with stones, the black box, and the three legged stool.
  • Analyzes how the stones played a large part in foreshadowing and symbolism.
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