Symbolism in Jackson's The Lottery Essay

Symbolism in Jackson's The Lottery Essay

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Lottery: A Terrifying Trip

Symbols can be used to convey a special meaning to the reader by association, especially when a material object is used to represent something abstract. Throughout the years, American writers have been using their works as a way to describe society to their broad audiences. As time periods change, writers as well as readers change their view about society. Several factors affect how readers view society in a piece of literature. To get a better understanding of the society expressed in a piece of literature, one must consider not only the time period in which the work was written, but also the life of the author, the style in which the work was written, and criticism of the piece. In Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” the society is demonstrated as unchangeable due to the underlying fear and evil of human nature. By using, main types of symbols represented in this story, are characters' names and objects.

Jackson wrote several pieces of literature throughout her life, she is most known for her short story “The Lottery.” The lottery takes place in a small town on June 27th. The lottery is an annual event handled by Mr. Summers and the postman, Mr. Graves. The night before the lottery, Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves made slips of paper that are placed in an old black box that has been used for the lottery for a very long time. The children are the first to arrive for the lottery, then the men, followed by the women. As Mr. Summers calls the names of the families in the town, heads of the households, the men, come and draw slips of paper from the black box. During the lottery, Mrs. Adams mentions that the other towns are thinking of stopping their lottery, to which Old Man Warner responds it wil...


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...l human character. Writers of American literature have many different opinions on the society. In order for readers to understand an author’s view on the society, they must look at many different aspects including the writer’s life and the time period in which the work was written. Though writers have different theories about the society, they express their philosophies into their work. The town who seem horribly uncivilized, where a son stones his mother, yet they can easily be compared to today's society.

Following customs blindfolded in any given society does prove to be fatal, and as I would like to say, disgusting. We need to realize that although, we make a society in the end it is painful for the society as a community to conclude life according to a black box.

Work Cited

Wilson, Kathleen, ed. Short Stories for Students. Detroit: Gale, 1997.

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