The lottery is something everyone wants to win no matter what the prize. People buy their tickets and await their fates. Some people win the lottery and many more lose. Losing the lottery causes something inside of us to die, but it is almost impossible to quit playing. The gambling becomes an addiction. The reason why people are constantly drawn to these lotteries is because deep down, the people who play them are convinced they can win.
In Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” the winner is in fact the loser, making the idea of winning completely twisted. Clearly, there is blatant irony in this because when one wins a lottery, there is typically a good connotation connected to it. However in “The Lottery,” winning means death--something that the people in the village have become accustomed to. In this story “The Lottery,” which is described as something that would closely resemble a festival, turns out to be something very sinister. Once a name is drawn from the black box, that person is placed in the town square and is stoned to death by anyone, child or adult, who is willing to partake in the act.
Everyone from the town-- men, women and children-- gather to put a list of family names within the village into a black lottery box. Everyone in the village has their jobs on the day of the lottery. The children play and collect the stones that are used for stonings after the name has been drawn. The head of each household must come up to chose a lottery slip when proceedings begin. The following are some examples of symbolism within the story: the stones collected by the children, the black box, two of the main character’s names, and the lottery itself.
The first part of the symbolism is in rega...
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... 's death the night before while in his office at his coal company, presumably because she was some kind of an outcast amongst the villagers.
The symbolization throughout the story can be interpreted as the stones, the black box, the two main characters, and most importantly the lottery itself. For the villagers, the lottery is something for the people to look forward to, bringing the same expectations every year. Reading the story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson brings the reader into a world where a somewhat modern society engages in the ruthless acts of barbarism seen in much earlier times. The lottery is a game of chance with people still looking forward to it today.
Shirley, Jackson. “The Lottery.” Compact Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing. 9th ed.
Eds. Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell. Cengage, 2015. p.419-425. Print.
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