The Lottery

Essay by Spurs21duncan1A, April 2004

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This term in English Comp II, we have read many short fiction stories. "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson was one of the stories we read. "The Lottery" is about a small town in America that holds a lottery drawing. In the beginning of the story, the lottery is described as a special event that occurs every year on an assigned date. After reading the first paragraph one can gather that it is not a ordinary lottery that is taking place. While reading "The Lottery," I found that there are many examples of symbolism throughout the short story.

The names of the characters play a large role in the story. An example is the Delacroix's, who are rather obviously religious. Mrs. Delacroix appears several times throughout the short story. She is a friend to Tessie Hutchinson, the woman who is selected for the sacrifice, but turns on her at the end along with the rest of the townspeople.

Mrs. Delacroix is not angry with Mrs. Hutchinson, but she helps kill her because of the tradition. The symbolism is obvious here. The church, usually seen as a positive influence, can sometimes turn on a person when it comes to a ritual or tradition. Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves also have symbolic names. Mr. Summers, the owner of a coal business, runs all the civic activities, including the lottery. His name represents the lottery itself, which occurs every summer. Mr. Graves, the town's postman, assists Mr. Summers in directing the ceremony of selecting the unlucky lottery winner. Just as he is a part of the drawing, his name symbolizes the element of death, which is apart of the lottery process.

The black box is another good example of symbolism. The box symbolizes mystery, death and the color...