Finding Meaning In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

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If you’ve ever purchased a lottery ticket, you may be shocked to learn that there is a 96.9% chance that you have purchased a losing ticket. Before you go out there and spend all of your spare income on Powerball tickets on the 3.1% chance you will win 175 million, keep in mind that the expected value of playing the game is winning $1.78, according to a Business Insider article “Three Math Facts That Every Powerball Player Needs To Know.” Most play with the hope they’ll win, but it’s all in good fun. But what about playing a lottery in which the “winning” results in your death by stoning? Chances are you would pass. This is not the case for a small village in a rural setting in Shirley Jackson’s short storyThe Lottery.” A long held tradition in which one person draws a piece of paper for their families and then the village proceeds to stone to death the one family member that draws the unlucky black dot, the lottery rarely draws questioning. In this story, Tessie Hutchinson is fine with the process until…show more content…
For example, Old Man Warner is literally the oldest man in the story; he has survived 77 lotteries (Jackson 395). His name goes beyond the actual meaning of “one who warns” though. His role in the story is to warn of the dangers of doing away with the lottery tradition. While this is a fairly obvious symbol, Jackson also uses other, more complicated ones that have to do with Christianity. The Delacroix name is French and means “of the cross” (Shmoop Editorial Team). An alert reader can infer that this is an allusion to Jesus Christ and his willing sacrifice on the cross. Jackson writes that “the villagers pronounced his name ‘Dellacroy’” (390). Later in the story, when Tessie is stoned to death by the villagers, the deeper meaning comes forth: the lottery is a violent perversion of what Jesus did on the cross. This town is twisted just like their pronunciation of the Delacroix
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