Reader's Response The Lottery

Essay by janeeoudingHigh School, 12th gradeC+, November 2014

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Jane Ouding

Mr. Weber

AP Lit & Comp.

22 October 2014

The Lottery

How does one repent for their sins? Mustn't something be sacrificed? The Lottery by Shirley Jackson vaguely addresses this idea and the evil that comes with it. In The Lottery begins with a description of children running in the square gathering stones and putting them into piles. The villagers all met in the square at ten o'clock for the lottery. Mr. Summers ran the lottery, pulling out an old black box and a three-legged stool, and calling each family name. The man of each household, or the head of the family, then came forward and drew a sheet of paper from the box and opened it. Whoever drew the sheet with the black dot had to play again. In the second round of the lottery the family that lost the lottery, the Huchtinsons, then each had to pull a piece of paper from the box and the one with the black dot was to be sacrificed, specifically stoned to death.

There is a number of symbols throughout the short story that imply a deeper meaning than this surface sacrifice. Quite a few names in the text reveal the characters role in the story, such as Mr. Summers, who was the aficionado of the lottery which took place in the summer, June 27th. Old Man Warner acted not only as an old man unwilling to change his ways, but as a warning to not stray from tradition. The Delacroix family, meaning "of the cross", were the ones most actively participating in the stoning, or the "sacrifice", as their sons made the biggest pile of stones and Mrs. Delacroix participated most eagerly. Mrs. Graves served as a sort of foreshadowing to death and the grave.