Symbols Used In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

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Annie Keene Mr. Cummings English 9H 29 October 2013 “The Lottery” In the short story, “The Lottery”, Shirley Jackson focuses on a small town whose villagers conduct a yearly lottery, in which the person who draws a piece of paper containing a block spot on it gets stoned to death by the remaining villagers. Although within this tradition there involves a human sacrifice, the villagers remain obedient to the society there were raised in, and contribute to it. It is through the loyalty of characters Old Man Warner and Davy Hutchinson, the setting of an old fashioned town, as well as the symbols of the black box and black spot that display the primary theme that people born into a society follow its traditions, reluctant to change, for they…show more content…
The original black box used for the drawing during the lottery is a tradition within itself. It is the first and only box ever used for the lottery, which is why the villagers haven’t “upset even as much tradition” that is shown by the box (1). The black box is used year after year, was in no way attempted to be replaced by the villagers because they seemed to oppose the idea of changing the slightest thing of one of their customs. By practicing and protecting their tradition so strongly and disapproving any adjustment to it shows how important the villagers view the lottery. Besides the black box, the papers inside containing one black dot have their own symbolism. During the lottery when the men are told to choose a slip of paper from the black box, whoever received “a black spot on it” was the person who is going to be stoned to death(4) .Essentially the villagers are choosing their own life or death and black spot symbolizes their death that is going to happen once chosen. Furthermore, the black box and spot represent an event resistant to change and a foreshadow of death about to
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