The Lottery

Topics: Short story, The Lottery, Shirley Jackson Pages: 4 (1453 words) Published: April 14, 2012
Thesis: In Shirley Jackson's controversial short story, "The Lottery", the usage of symbolism stands strong when she manages to relate the feebleness of life with pieces of paper, mystery and fear with an eerie black box, and society's prevailing ability to blindly follow tradition with the overall aspect of a "lottery". I. The pieces of paper that the villagers had to draw contained inside the black box symbolized the feebleness of life.         A. “He dropped all the paper but those on the ground, where the breeze caught them and lifted them off”         B. Lives=insignificant

C. Villagers sacrifice one another without thinking twice about their ruthless acts      II. The black box the villagers cherished so dearly symbolized fear, mystery, and death. A. Fear because they knew the punishment for the one who received the black dot B. Mystery because it was up to fate for the person to be picked C. Death because the one chosen was cruelly stoned

III. The lottery held every year symbolized actions, behaviors, or ideas that are passed down from one generation to the next that’s accepted and followed unquestioningly, no matter how illogical, bizarre, or cruel. A. They didn’t understand why it occurred

B. Knew that many other towns weren’t doing it anymore
C. Still followed by it and practiced the tradition annually, no questions asked IV. Eliot Fremont-Smith, a daily book critic for The Times, said Miss Jackson "was an important literary influence." "She was a master of complexity of mood, an ironic explorer of the dark, conflicting inner tyrannies of the mind and soul," he declared adding that "she left the flourishes--or rather, directed them--to the reader's imagination” (Smith). The advantage of symbolism does exactly that. It leaves the interpretation to the readers themselves and allows their imagination to have an opinion of its own. Jackson’s usage of this is flawless as she conquers the task of relating the feebleness of life...
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