The Lottery Symbolism

1634 Words7 Pages
Shelly Kasper Jodi Stapleton English 1102

The lottery symbolism

“The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson is a short story about how every citizen in a small town is forced to take part in the annual lottery. What the reader soon finds out is that this is not the type of lottery that one would want to win, and the only reason why the town holds this type of lottery every year is because of tradition. A cheerful tone seems to be set from the very beginning when Jackson describes a warm sunny summer’s day; school is just getting out and everyone appears content. Next she describes the children and adults gathering stones for the lottery. This is the first event that makes the reader question the action of the townspeople. Stones are not something that is used in your typical everyday lottery. When the town’s people gather for the lottery everyone is required to draw a slip of paper from the black box. The family that chooses the “winning” slip of paper has to put their papers back into the black box and choose again. The family member that has chosen the slip of paper with the black dot on it has won the lottery, but the only thing that he or she has won is a cruel and unusual death by stoning. In this story Tessie Hutchinson is the one who wins the lottery.

Tradition is an essential element t in any family or town. It sometimes seems as if tradition is the key factor that holds a community together, people bond over similarities such as a common tradition, but what if the very thing that is holding a community together is also destroying its people? Why would a community keep repeating the same mistake year after year and never think twice about why they were doing it in the first place? This type of phenomena is something that has been repeated throughout history and an idea that Shirley Jackson expresses though symbolism in the short story
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