An Analysis Of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

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Congratulations, you have won the lottery! It’s great. Right? However, this lottery is organized the same way as in Shirley Jackson’s short story, The Lottery. In this story, a lottery, an old tradition, is held yearly on June 27 in a small village. The fathers of each family go up to the center of the square, and each of them take a piece of paper out of a black box. While this is going on, Old Man Warner, who had been in the lottery for 77 years, is talking to other villagers about how some places with young people have quit lotteries. The village still carries on the tradition of the lottery, although it is not a present-day tradition. Bill Hutchinson was the one who had the paper with the black dot. Each member of his family, including…show more content…
“The original paraphernalia for the lottery had been lost long ago, and the black box now resting on the stool had been put into use even before Old Man Warner, the oldest man in town, was born” (93). Old Man Warner had been in the lottery for 77 years, and the black box had been used for the lottery longer than that. This proves that the lottery was a long tradition, and the village is not going to stop doing that, even though they lose one person every year. The reason the lottery is still going on in this village is because of the tradition of it. “‘Some places have already quit lotteries,’ Mrs. Adams said. ‘Nothing but trouble in that,’ Old Man Warner said stoutly. ‘Pack of young fools’” (95). Young people have stopped doing lotteries because it was never a tradition. In the village where the story takes place, the lottery has been a tradition for over seven decades. This is what the black box represents, and this is why the villagers didn’t want a new box. “Mr. Summers spoke frequently to the villagers about making a new box, but no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box” (93). Mr. Summers wants to make a new box because he wasn’t used to the tradition of the lottery, although he is the director of it. “Bad enough to see young Joe Summers up there joking with everybody” (95). Therefore, the black box symbolizes the tradition of…show more content…
It symbolizes destiny. If someone had a black dot on their paper, it happened for a reason. This is why Tessie Hutchinson was selected. “Just as Mr. Summers finally left off talking and turned to the assembled villagers, Mrs. Hutchinson came hurriedly along the path to the square” (93). First, she was late to the lottery. This didn’t help her chances of not being selected. “Clean forgot what day it was,’ she said to Mrs. Delacroix, who stood next to her, and they both laughed softly. ‘Thought my old man was out back stacking wood,’ Mrs. Hutchinson went on, ‘and then I looked outside and the kids was gone, and then I remembered it was the twenty seventh and came a-running” (93). She told someone she was late, and Mr. Summers said, “Thought we were going to have to get on without you, Tessie” (94). Now the whole village knows she is late, so she tried to make a joke when Bill, her husband, went up to draw. “Hutchinson.’ ‘Get up there, Bill,’ Mrs. Hutchinson said, and the people near her laughed.” This is the reason why Bill picked the paper with the black dot. Later in the story, Mrs. Hutchinson complained to Mr. Summers that didn’t give Bill enough time to pick a slip of paper that he wanted. Actually, it was her fault for rushing Bill to the square. Complaining about this just made it more evident that she would be selected. In short, the black dot on the pieces of paper represent
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