Symbolism in The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson Essay example

Symbolism in The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson Essay example

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When most people play the lottery today, they think about having wealth. Generally, people who win are happy about it whether they win one dollar or a million. The lottery in our society has grown to support education and it is often worth several million dollars. Usually, the winner of the lottery gains a lot of recognition for the money they win. But what would happen if there was a small town where people held a yearly lottery in which the “winner” was the member of the town who was not sacrificed? This question is answered in Shirley Jackson’s short story, “The Lottery.” In reading this story, and reading literary criticism about the story, there were many symbols and much symbolism in this story.
1 Biographical Analysis
Shirley Jackson was the only daughter of Leslie and Geraldine Jackson. Born in 1916, Jackson grew up in Rochester New York and went to Brighton High School. Eventually, she would graduate from Syracuse University with her bachelor’s degree (GradeSaver) and marry Stanley Edgar Hyman, also a writer. Although Jackson lived a very successful life as an author, she is most known for “The Lottery.” With this title and several of her novels, she gained a reputation as a “gothic horror and psychological suspense” author (Randall and Simon 1). Jackson had four children and when she was pregnant with one of her children and walking home from buying groceries, she was thinking about a book that her husband had introduced her to about ancient rights that she could not get out of her mind. When she arrived home, she wrote “The Lottery” in two hours, showed it to her husband, and then sent it off to her publisher at The New Yorker Magazine; they published it right away (Shmoop Editorial Team).
2 Historical Cultural Analy...


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...kson List of Works, Study Guides & Essays”.
GradeSaver, 25 July 2011 Web. 25 July 2011. Hicks, Jennifer. “Overview of ‘The Lottery’. Short Stories for Students. Detroit: Gale, 2002.
From Literature Resource Center. Web. 21 July 2011.
Jackson, S. (1948). “The Lottery” Classic Short Stories. Web. 21 July 2011.
Miss Cellania. "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson. In Books and Literature, Mental Floss. 14
April 2011. Web. 25 July 2011.
Nebeker, Helen E. ‘The Lottery’: Symbolic Tour de Force.” American Literature, 46.1 (March
1974): 100-107. Contemporary Literary Ed. Christopher Giroux and Brigham Narins 87, Detroit: Gale Research 1995. From Literature Resource Center. Web. 22 July 2011
PCM Entertainment and Trivia Network. “1948 History, Fun Facts,Trivia and Year in Review”
25 July 2011. Web. 23 July 2011.

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