Essay about Tradition in The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

Essay about Tradition in The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

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“The Lottery”, written by Shirley Jackson,was published in 1948. The story centers around a social gathering holding every resident in attendance. It is an annual tradition to have this gathering and all of the town’s people have to participate in a lottery in the belief that it will help bring a prosperous harvest. A slip of paper is made for everyone who lives in the town and one special slip is marked with a black spot. The one who draws the marked paper is proclaimed the winner of the lottery and receives the honor of getting stoned to death by the rest of the participants. The slips of papers are drawn from the same rustic black blox used year after year. The town is symbolic of the box in the way of how the box is handled, the color of the box is painted and of how the box was made.
A reason the box symbolizes the town is because of the way the box is handled . Literary critics and author of American writers Jay Parini concur “The box is only handled by the men of the village.” (Parini 122). Mr. Summers, the conductor of the lottery, is in charge of the box. Just like the box, the town is male dominated. Throughout the entire story the men are in charge. It is the men who help out Mr. Summers by holding the box steady while he stirs the papers inside the box and he specifically calls for “some of you fellows” (Jackson 1) addressing the men standing by him. Also the men are the ones who draw up the lists of families while the women wait patiently a distance away. Furthermore, it is the“heads of household” who draw for their families. If the man of the family is unable to draw, then a son can draw in his place. A woman is allowed to draw for the family only on the occasion that no other man is able to draw (Perini 123). A...


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...t the black box embodies the towns characteristics. The black box is not brought up much throughout the entire story, but its presence is always felt. It is felt through the town and its people. The town showcases the fact that the men are in charge. The townspeople show their true colors when it comes time for the lottery. It also shows through the way that the town was founded.




Works Cited
Agırel, Seyfi. "Colour Symbolism in Turkish and Azeri Folk Literature." Literary Reference Center. Nebeker, Hellen. "The Lottery": Tour De Force. Durham: Duke UP, 2003. Ebscohost. Web.
Routledge, Apr. 2009. Web. 4 Mar. 2014.
Oehlschlaeger, Fritz. "The Stoning of Mistress Hutchinson: Meaning and Context in "The Lottery'" Essays in Literature 15.2 (1988): 259-65. Literary Reference Center.
Parini, Jay. American Writers. New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2002. Print.


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