Symbolism in the Lottery

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Shirley Jackson’s, “The Lottery”, clearly expresses her feelings concerning traditional rituals through her story. It opens the eyes of readers to properly classify and question some of today’s traditions as cruel, and allows room to foretell the outcome of these unusual traditions. “The Lottery” is a short story that records the annual sacrifice ceremony of a fictional small town. It is a detailed narrative of the selection of the person to be sacrificed, a process known to the townspeople as “the lottery”. This selection is extremely rich in symbolism. Shirley Jackson uses symbolism to make readers aware of the pointless nature of humanity regarding tradition and violence. There are three main types of symbolism in this piece: characters’ names, objects, and numbers. The names of the characters play a large role in the story. Some such as Delacroix, are rather obviously religious natures. Others, such as Adams, are a bit more obscure. The Delacroix family has a name that literally means of the cross. The principal Delacroix character, Mrs. Delacroix, appears several times throughout the short story. She functions as a friend to Tessie Hutchinson, the woman ultimately selected for the sacrifice, but turns on her at the end along with the rest of the townspeople. Delacroix is not angry with Hutchinson, but helps kill her because of the tradition. The symbolism here is apparent. The church, usually seen as a positive influence, can sometimes turn on a person in the name of ritual and tradition. Mr. Adams, another character, is the first to draw from the lottery box. His name, Adams, coupled with the fact that he is the first man to draw from the lottery box, Flowers 2

indicates that he is biblically representative of humanity. Like the other characters, he is supposed to stand for the average person. This illustrates that the story is universally applicable to everyone. Mr. Summers...
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