Symbolism: “The Lottery” and “Everyday Use”
Symbolism is a magnificent thing. It can prep the reader to expect something unique to the story, and sometimes symbolism isn’t even recognized until the reader has completely finished the story. For this critical analysis, I will be looking at the symbolism in “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson and “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker. “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson
In this story, the symbolism begins with the description of the black box. The detailing of the black box shows how old the tradition of the lottery is. The fact that the black box “was no longer completely black but splintered badly along one side to show the original wood color and in some places faded or stained,” (137) shows that the box is falling apart, that the box has been used over and over again for this one and only tradition that these villagers have; a very old tradition. More symbolism comes from the fact that a part of the lottery’s tradition is fading, eventually, it seems, it will fade altogether with the younger generation. The lottery, at one point, had wood chips that sat in the box in place of the now, papers that sit there. Not only were the wood chips forgotten, but other aspects of the lottery as well. Things like a “recital of some sort…[that] had been allowed to lapse,” and, moreover, “a ritual salute,” (138). More symbolism from this story comes from the lateness of Mrs. Hutchinson. She forgot the date and realized a little late, what that date meant. Mrs. Hutchinson’s fate seems to go hand and hand with her lateness. This symbolism feels like a morbid omen for Mrs. Hutchinson. Her lateness makes the reader think about her more than some of the other characters mentioned in this story. Furthermore, when Old Man Warner states that the younger generations adverse views of the lottery will make them want to “go back to living in caves,” (139) shows that Old Man Warner views the lottery as necessary for...
Cited: Roberts, Edgar V., and Robert Zweig. "Everyday Use." Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. 5th ed. Boston: Longman, 2012. 6-12. Print.
Roberts, Edgar V., and Robert Zweig. "The Lottery." Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. 5th ed. Boston: Longman, 2012. 136-41. Print.
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