Compare and Contrast The Rocking Horse Winner and The Lottery

Topics: Short story, Shirley Jackson, Love Pages: 5 (1378 words) Published: December 2, 2014
USE OF SYMBOLS TO CONVEY THEME OF STORY

Use of Symbols by Authors to Help Readers Understand the Theme of Short Stories

Summer Martin

Liberty University Online

Use of Symbols by Authors to Help Readers Understand the Theme of Short Stories

THESIS: The two short stories, "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson and "The Rocking Horse Winner" by D. H. Lawrence both use symbols to help the reader understand the theme of the story; however the themes of both stories were completely different, one about love the other the lack of love.

In "The Lottery" and "The Rocking Horse Winner" both authors use symbols to help convey the central message of the story to their readers.

In "The Lottery", Jackson uses the black box to symbolize the villagers' connection to the tradition of the lottery.

"The original paraphernalia for the lottery had been lost long ago" The villagers were willing to let some parts of the lottery change but never question why or even think about changing the lottery itself

"The black box grew shabbier each year". Falling apart but villagers show no interest in replacing it

The Black box had no significance the rest of the year and could be found in several different locations throughout the town

In "The Rocking Horse Winner", Lawrence uses the whispering house and the rocking horse to show how greed gets you nowhere.

"There must be more money" The house spoke of it often, usually when the children received things that they knew that the family could not afford. They had servants but no car of their own, because they were poor.

Paul thought he could stop the house from whispering if he could win enough money. After giving his mom all of his earnings the house simply got louder. "The voices in the house went mad"

This scared Paul and made him want to get more money. He could no longer hear from the rocking horse. This made him ride it faster and longer. In the end Paul died trying to quiet the whispers in the house.

While both authors used symbolism to convey the message of their stories the themes of the stories could not have been more different.

In "The Lottery" the theme of the story is the lack of love shown by the villagers

The villagers follow custom with no questions asked

The villagers are not willing to give up the customs

They are teaching lack of compassion to the next generation

The theme in "The Rocking Horse Winner" is love.

Paul loves his mom so much he is desperate to prove himself lucky and perhaps this would make her love him. Paul was angered by his mother not believing that he was lucky and set out to prove her wrong.

Paul risks himself to give her what she needed, money. He sacrificed his own life for his mother. Paul gave his mother all of his earnings because he thought he could always get more. He then stopped having all the answers and lost money. He rode his horse nonstop until his ultimate death.

When people hear the word "lottery", their minds usually turn to positive things and most likely the chance of winning something such as money. The title "Rocking Horse Winner" would make readers think that this story would be about a child winning a rocking horse. From the simple titles alone, most readers would think that these stories would have a positive outcome. They both draw you completely in and turn out to have a much different ending than you would imagine. The two short stories, "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson and "The Rocking Horse Winner" by D. H. Lawrence both use symbols to help the reader understand the theme of the story; however, the themes of both stories were completely different, one about love and the other about the lack of love.

In "The Lottery" and "The Rocking Horse Winner," both authors use symbols to help convey the central message of the story to their readers. In "The Lottery," Jackson uses the black box to symbolize the villagers' connection to the tradition of the lottery. The black box was not the...

References: Lawrence, D.H. (2013). "The Rocking Horse Winner". In Kennedy, X.J., & Gioia, D. (Eds.), _Literature: an introduction to fiction, poetry, drama, and writing_ (pp. 234-245). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc.
Jackson, S. (2013). "The Lottery". In Kennedy, X.J., & Gioia, D. (Eds.), _Literature: an introduction to fiction, poetry, drama, and writing_ (pp. 250-256). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc.
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