The Significance of Tradition in The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson Essay

The Significance of Tradition in The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson Essay

Length: 1502 words (4.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

A clear sunny day immediately turns dark with a glimpse of a sinister surprise. Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” is a twisted tale that takes place midsummer in the early twentieth century. A small village of three hundred conducts a heinous ritual once a year which in consequence results in a loss of their community. Members of the village are reluctant to let go of the tradition of the lottery. Symbolism within “The Lottery” illustrates a transformation of the community values.

There are several glimpses of the future that are represented by symbols such as the black box. The black wooden box represents the darkness of death, and the condition of the box suggests a transition in thought of the villagers. The box becomes exposed when we see that “the black box brew shabbier each year; by now it was no longer completely black but splintered badly along one side to show the original wood color”(Jackson, 1). The color of the box is symbolic of death, since it is worn at funerals. Black also correlates to an evil presence, which is present throughout the story. The boxes form indicates that the villagers are beginning to evolve and develop. Helen Nebeker reveals that the age of this tradition may be much older than have thought with “its prehistoric origin is revealed in the mention of the original wood color” (102). The suggestion of a prehistoric origin displays the villager’s current mindset. They are tired and bored with this tradition. Some villagers are extremely irritated that this tradition must continue, but at the same time many people want the tradition to go on. The thought that the tradition is beginning to get old is implies when we see “the present box has been made from pieces of the original and is now blackened, fa...


... middle of paper ...


...it.

Ultimately the community is distraught and confused on whether or not they should continue with this outrageous tradition. The condition of the box, along with the stones and three legged stool are all representations of their tradition, but the villagers are ready to develop and evolve from this. Many villagers are ready to move on, but are afraid to be vocal about their opinions due to the possible repercussions from the rest of the community.



Works Cited

Hill, William J. The Three-personed God: The Trinity as a Mystery of Salvation. N.p.: Catholic
University of America, 1982. Print.
Jackson, Shirley. “The Lottery.” The Lottery and Other Stories. New York: Farrar, 1991. 291-302.
Nebeker, Helen E. American Literature. 1st ed. Vol. 46. N.p.: Duke UP, 1974. Print.
Yuhan, Zhu. "Studies in Literature and Language." Ironies in The Lottery 6 (2013): 35-39. Web.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay The Lottery By Shirley Jackson

- In the Lottery by Shirley Jackson, this short passage, discuss the significance of characterization, tone, symbolism, metaphor, similes and different phrases each of these subjects helps shape the short story. In this short story the Lottery takes place in a small village in which the town gathers around in order to pick names out of the box. This story has to deal with the themes dangers of blindly following tradition but also the randomness of persecution. In the short story the Lottery gave off to be an interesting passage with different themes which are danger of blindly following tradition and also the randomness of persecution....   [tags: The Lottery, Short story, Shirley Jackson]

Powerful Essays
1212 words (3.5 pages)

Analysis Of Shirley Jackson 's The Lottery Essay

- For many years short stories have always been a great way to entertain and captivate an audience. Authors of short stories use a certain form of promptness that allows them to lull the reader into a sense of security and enjoyment while the story continues throughout. Throughout short stories, many simplistic things are able to evolve throughout the story such as: characters, metaphors, symbols, and ideas that the author was trying to portray through the short story. Short stories can be all fun and games; however a reader will sometimes run into a short story that has intentions aimed towards more than just pleasuring entertainment....   [tags: Short story, Shirley Jackson, The New Yorker]

Powerful Essays
1543 words (4.4 pages)

Symbolism Of The Lottery By Shirley Jackson Essay

- Symbolism Found in “The Lottery” “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson is a story filled with symbolism from beginning to end. The name itself gives away one of the most important symbols that the story envelops. What makes the story so much more interesting and entertaining is that the reader must explore the symbolism found in the story and give their own explanations because the author does not give a straightforward answer. The story lacks simple answers to questions and requires more thought out responses and the reader is expected to come up with what he/she believes to be the answer....   [tags: The Lottery, Short story, Shirley Jackson]

Powerful Essays
1111 words (3.2 pages)

The Lottery By Shirley Jackson Essay

- 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....   [tags: Short story, The Lottery, Shirley Jackson]

Powerful Essays
1210 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on The Lottery By Shirley Jackson

- When reading either a short story or a poem, it is important to take everything with a grain of salt and to look past what the words are saying. In the story “The Lottery” written by Shirley Jackson all that occurs is not as seems. What appears to be an old town tradition turns out to be a public killing in the center of the town. Several elements of the story, whether it is something large or small, go beyond the literal sense and take on a more significant and symbolic meaning. The black box, the white pieces of paper within the box, and the entire lottery event in general are all symbols in the story because they contribute to the development of the true meaning behind what “The Lottery”...   [tags: Short story, Shirley Jackson, The Lottery]

Powerful Essays
1249 words (3.6 pages)

The Lottery, By Shirley Jackson Essay

- Often when thinking about tradition we think of Christmas morning or Passover Seder. But, have you ever wondered how much your traditions have changed since when they were started. The message portrayed in Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” is the dangers of blindly following traditions, and how it affects those participating. The villagers’ in the story give a blind approval of the lottery, which allows a ceremonial murder to become part of their town’s tradition, without purpose of doing it, besides the fact they’ve forever held a lottery to stone someone due to the belief that the crops will come soon....   [tags: Short story, The Lottery, Shirley Jackson]

Powerful Essays
1003 words (2.9 pages)

The Lottery By Shirley Jackson Essay

- The lottery The Lottery by Shirley Jackson is about how society runs towards violence to practice tradition whether it have a purpose and meaning or it is bizarre and pointless and people tend to look for such event to vent their rage and anger out towards others. The story is written based on irony, making the reader thinks that nothing is wrong and everything is going well in this little village. Jackson mostly uses situational irony throughout the story, surprising the reader by the characters actions and the event of the story....   [tags: The Lottery, Stoning, Shirley Jackson, Rajm]

Powerful Essays
1360 words (3.9 pages)

The Lottery, By Shirley Jackson Essay example

- Families and towns today embrace their own culture and teach the unwritten laws of their ancestors through tradition, or the spread of customs or beliefs from generation to generation. Tradition allows a reflection to be made on the world of others, reminding people of their connection to something of a bigger purpose. In The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson, a tradition is instilled in the residents of a small, dreary town to partake in a town-wide lottery. This story begins in the spirit of tradition but ends with a custom amidst a dark end....   [tags: The Lottery, Stoning, Shirley Jackson, Sacrifice]

Powerful Essays
1200 words (3.4 pages)

The Lottery, By Shirley Jackson Essay

- Death Is The Prize 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....   [tags: Stoning, The Lottery, Rajm, Shirley Jackson]

Powerful Essays
1426 words (4.1 pages)

Tradition or Cruelty in Shirley Jackson's The Lottery Essay

- Tradition or Cruelty in Shirley Jackson's The Lottery Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" satirizes barbaric traditions in a supposedly civilized village. As the story begins, the villagers appear to be fairly civilized and carry on fairly modern lifestyles. This is assumed by the men's discussion of planting, rain, tractors, and taxes. The lottery was outdated to such a degree that some may think that the tradition is primal competition of anthropoid beasts. On the other hand, some think that carrying on the tradition was necessary....   [tags: Shirley Jackson Lottery Essays]

Powerful Essays
2231 words (6.4 pages)