Explore the way Shirley Jackson uses symbolism in "The Lottery" to develop theme.

Essay by kocovicCollege, UndergraduateA-, March 2003

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For most literary works, numerous figurative techniques and writing skills are utilized in extensive ways by the author to get the writing enriched. "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson is a typical example of that. It tells a story about a bizarre tradition which is called "The Lottery" in an old village, the individual who wins the lottery will be killed by others. Throughout the short story, we can distinguish that the observance of the lottery is an application of symbolism introduced by Shirley Jackson to reveal the necessity for people to examine traditions.

The story commences with a false innocence: A beautiful summer morning, a tiny little uncivilized village. Everyone in the village knows each other well. In such a peaceful atmosphere, an annual lottery activity takes place on the 27th of June as a ritual of the village. Superficially, this lottery activity is recognized as a symbol which implicates the destiny of the village.

For a small village, the crop harvest is so important to the people that the oldest and the most sophisticated man of the village Mr. Warner feels irritated when he hears of that "...over in the north village they're talking of giving up the lottery."(69). Also, he describes them as a "Pack of crazy fools."(70) and says " Lottery in June, corn heavy soon."(70). His old belief represents a collective thought in the village as they trust that their way of life is thoroughly decided by the lottery which is actually a silly superstition. Second, as we finish reading the story, the result of the lottery thrills us. The "lucky" guy will be deadly stoned. One person is killed each year by the lottery, by taking part in the tradition without reluctance. Folks' doom which determines if they can live or...