Essay On Symbolism In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

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A lottery is where success of the outcome is based solely by luck or chance. There are several ways of playing this game, but whether you use different sized straws, picking numbers or reaching for a piece of paper with a black dot on it won’t change your chances of winning or losing, or in this story, chances of living or dying. In Shirley Jackson’s short story, “The Lottery,” we have no idea what the game is about. She wants her readers to believe that even a village that seems to be of modern thought, decent manners and education can fall into the trappings of ancient times. Shirley Jackson uses symbolism to prove that many cultures believe in tradition so much that they would sacrifice human life for the powers that their god will provide. Jackson uses various types of symbols to prove her main idea. In the beginning of the story, Jackson writes how the “flowers were blossoming profusely” and how the “grass was richly green” (17). Flowers generally symbolize the “passive principle” (flower) and being a symbol of the “cycle of plant life” (flower). Green symbolizes “hope,...strength... and longevity” (green). She uses…show more content…
When the villagers gather in the morning, she wants the readers to realize the villagers get nervous and quiet when traditional objects are pulled out to begin the lottery. These objects, such as the “black box” (18) and the “three-legged stool” (18), are connected symbols to their ritual. The color black, which symbolizes “complete death” (black) and “mourning” (black), is used frequently giving the image of darkness in the story. A box symbolizes that it “holds a secret” (box) indicating the power that it contains. The “three-legged stool” (18) is considered to support the citizen’s fate and how the people support this ritual. In Danielle Schaub’s writing, she states that when using these symbols together, it allows you to understand the lottery is a “death-bringing ritual” (Schaub par.

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