A symbol is as defined by the Oxford Dictionary is “A thing that represents or stands for something else, especially a material object representing something abstract.” (Symbol) Symbolism can be found on the pages of both “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker and “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson. Symbolism is a key component found in both these short stores and the symbolism plays a vital role in getting across the authors point. The symbolism also helps the authors get across what they’re saying without having to actually say it. It engages the reader within the short story and has them actually stop and think and maybe even be able to relate back a symbol to something that they’re going though making them understand it better. Symbols in both stories represent just how blindly and in good faith people will follow tradition.
A major symbol in “Everyday Use” is the quilt. The quilt symbolized the bonds of women across different generations since it was crafted together over time. The connection across the generations is strong but with Dee’s arrival the audience is shown that the bond is also vulnerable. The quilts are pieces of the family’s living history; they are fabrics that document the lives of the different generations. They show the trials, such as war and poorness, that they faced. The quilts serve as evidence of the history of pride and struggle for the family. Mama considers her personal history one of her few treasures, this is seen in the way that her home contains crafts created by her extended family. Mama did not receive a financial inheritance from her family but instead was given the quilts. The quilts have a value that Dee is unable to understand, despite her desires to care for and preserve th...
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...culture that it even has a little saying that goes with it: “Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon.” The villagers are loyal to the lottery despite the fact that many parts of it has changed or faded over time. Despite this the lottery continues for the simple fact that there has always been a lottery. The Lottery is a wonderful example of what can happen when tradition is blindly followed instead of questioned by new generations in new times.
The symbolism may not stand out during the first read through of the short stories. However, when you start to take a deeper look and take apart the story there’s no way the reader could miss the symbolism that fill the pages of these stories. The symbolism found within these two stories only serve to strengthen the individual stories. The symbolism adds parts to the story that may not be possible by the actual words alone.
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