Essay on Symbolism and Characterization in Jackson’s The Lottery

Essay on Symbolism and Characterization in Jackson’s The Lottery

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Traditions are passed on, from previous generations in Shirley Jackson’s “The

Lottery”. Traditions, which have been lost in time, but seemingly enough the stones have

not been discarded. Set on a village in a warm summer day, the story begins with several

boys gathering stones for the lottery. The rest of the villagers gather in the square. The

fate of the villagers is determined by a slip of paper chosen from the black box.

Symbolism and characterization, from the beginning to the end, work together to reveal

the story’s theme: that people blindly follow tradition even if it leads to their own


In the beginning, the villagers clearly show how the black box is an important

symbol that has a powerful influence on tradition . As the black box is brought into the

square, Mr. Summers places it on the stool. The villagers act as if they are not at ease and

afraid: “The villagers kept their distance, leaving a space between themselves and the

stool” (Jackson 410). Here the villagers display a notion of what the black box represent...

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