The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

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The Lottery by Shirley Jackson tells an intriguing, thought-provoking and disturbing story, by using conventions of symbolism, dialogue and foreshadowing. The conventions used help bring together, emphasize and create meaning for the reader, that people blindly follow traditions that have lost meaning .Jackson has cleverly used symbolism in the short story to form a multifaceted meaning that challenges the readers to broaden their thoughts in regards to the tradition. The convention of dialogue misleads the reader at the beginning to think that the community spirit is strong but toward the end it reveals dispute and injustice. Foreshadowing subtly and progressively gives the reader captivating clues to the unfolding event. “The Lottery” tells a fascinating story about an unrevealed village which blindly follows an annual tradition passed down from long ago. This tradition involves the whole community of about 300 people, one of which is stoned to death.

Shirley Jackson has combined the convention of symbolism into ‘The Lottery’ to create a deep and more profound meaning. The black box a symbol/ icon used in the story is an old, worn, well used box. This box is an important feature of the villagers’ annual tradition. For example, “Mr Summers spoke frequently to the villagers about making a new box, but no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box”. The box is so important that the people are too frightened to renew the box in case the tradition is lost, even though the meaning has already gone. The reader infers that the colour of the box, which is black, is to allow them to easily depict the idea of death, as the colour black usually correlates with death. The black box is symbolic of a coffin as they both are a form of a box. The black box is described in detail. “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 colour, and in some...
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