Symbolism in the Lottery

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Symbolism in “The Lottery”
The definition of the word lottery is a process or happening that is or seems to be determined by chance. In the story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, the author takes this to an extreme level. She uses various symbols to portray this grim story. By using symbols such as the black box, the last names, the children, and the stones, we will clearly see the importance of symbolism in this story and in literature today.

The 1st symbol that is predominantly used throughout the story is the black box. It can physically be described as old, tattered, splintered, fading and stained. It is also not the original box. It is made from pieces of its predecessor. This shows how much the town has cared for the box, not only that but the tradition as well. “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” (188) The town pays no attention to the box on any other day, then the lottery. This can be used as foreshadowing. The black coloring of the box can show that the result of this “lottery” is unfortunate and the fact that it’s dilapidated shows how the lottery is as a tradition is dying and so much as an after-thought. The black box also conveys the theme of the story. It is mentioned thirty times throughout the story, so not only does it play a big role in this small town, but as in the story as well.

The characters last names also play a huge part in the symbolism of the story. There are four main names that particularly stand out, the first of which being Summers. Mr. Summers is the official for the whole lottery process and we meet him early in the story. Summer as a season means the height of life and happiness. This is very ironic through the course of the story because of the dark nature of the tradition. This name also helps reinforce the setting of the story. Another last name that helps portray...
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