Symbolism Essay

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Symbolism is a person, object, place, action, or event that means something beyond its literal meaning. Symbols in novels can mean many different things depending on the reader and how they interpret it. But overall symbols can give a good idea of how the story will play out or what the characters actions will be. Three short stories that have a great representation of symbolism is “The Lottery”, by Shirley Jackson, “The Tell Tale Heart”, by Edgar Allan Poe, and “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been”, by Joyce Carol Oates. Shirley Jackson’s, “The Lottery”, has an immense amount of symbols throughout the story. The most obvious one being the actual title to this short story. The word lottery should associate with something good, something that you want to win, but in this short story it means the exact opposite. The author sets up our expectations with the title and then crushes them when we learn the true meaning of the lottery in this small town—which is the lottery is not something you want to win because it means you will get stoned to death. Another big symbol is the black box that is used to pick the villagers names out to see who wins the lottery. The color black usually means something dark or scary and when Mr. Summers asked for help to carry the box to the square, there was hesitation by Mr. Martin and his oldest son who steadily and carefully helped put it on the stool. The black box is only used for a little time every June in this town, “It had spent one year in Mr. Graves’s barn and another year underfoot in the post office and sometimes it was set on a shelf in the Martin grocery and left there.” This quote explains how reluctant the villagers are to let go of the box and even the lottery itself and shows how tradition is extremely important in this town. Edgar Allan Poe’s, “The Tell Tale Heart”, has an unreliable narrator who keeps on claiming

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