Analysis of The Lottery

Topics: Short story, The Lottery, Shirley Jackson, Symbol, The New Yorker / Pages: 3 (910 words) / Published: Mar 11th, 2015
Minkyun Cho
Lynn Hovde
English 101
02/04/15
Relevance between “The Lottery” and the then Society People, past and present, have potentially selfishness and madness. When someone gets in trouble unfairly, people could protest against unfairness or could obey the unfairness. “The Lottery,” is a short story written by Shirley Jackson in 1948, shows dark sides hidden in people’s minds. This story was influenced after the World War Ⅱ, so people’s brutality from the war is reflected to this story. In this story, there is an annual lottery that the result of winning is stoned. Jackson uses symbolism to imply that blind obedience to tradition can be dangerous and people’s unconscionableness. At first, names of each character have specific meanings. Jackson uses symbolic names to connote a forthcoming event after the lottery. For examples, the name, “Mr. Summers” (1238), is associated with warmth, blooming, blossoming, youth and sunlight, so the author uses this name ironically. Also, it implies the lottery is held in summer season. The next symbol is “Mr. Graves” (1238) who is an assistant of Mr. Summers. A grave means a place of burial for a dead body. Therefore, readers can infer that a tragedy will come at the end. Also, by showing two opposite names, positiveness and negativeness always exist together. Secondly, a black box which keeps slips of papers exists. The black box is a symbol of tradition of the town. The box is described as “The original paraphernalia for the lottery had been lost long ago” (1238). It shows even though the original box had been lost, the old tradition has never changed and questioned. Also, she states, “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” (1238). Based on this description, she shows people in the town do not want to change their old tradition and want to settle for the present without any wiliness even though they have a



Cited: Shirley Jackson “The Lottery" Barnet, Sylvan. "American Dreams and Nightmare." Literature for Composition: An Introduction to Literature. Tenth ed. Pearson, 2012. Print.

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