Symbolism In The Lottery

549 Words3 Pages
Symbolism is a concept the author, Shirley Jackson displays throughout her short story, “The Lottery”. The story represents several aspects of society. It shows how one does not realize how fragile a life is. The story displays the cruelty of ancient society and how it is still present in today’s world. Shirley Jackson uses symbolism in the story to represent ancient rituals being symbolic of religion, death, and life itself. Three of the symbols that are very important to the story are the black box, the stones, and the pieces of paper. The black box the reader leans of quickly is one of the more important symbolic items in the story representing mystery in the story. Throughout the story the reader does not really know what is going on or the purpose of the story, and the box represents this. It also serves as a symbol for death. Black is often associated with death and evil, which is how the story ends. The box also represents the idea of a coffin holding someone’s death inside it. The black box is a representation of someone’s death at the lottery. Jackson describes, “ The black box grew shabbier each year: by now it was no longer completely black but splintered badly along one side to show the original wood color, and in some places faded or stained,” (510) it is a representation of how the tradition had become a corroded practice. The stones are a symbol for tradition. Rocks are ancient and remind the reader of a simpler, more basic time. The traditions that the people follow are barbaric in nature and have been around for a very long time. Stones have been a murder weapons because the first human tools were made of stone. The lottery really seems to represent its ancestors in the earliest type of violent human ritual. Stoning someone to death is also mentioned in some religious texts. Stones in this
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