Foreshadowing In The Lottery By Shirley Jackson

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Jackson’s “The Lottery” entails an appalling sacrificial ritual in a town of people who mindlessly obey this outdated event, despite that some towns have stopped this ritual. It draws parallels to how early civilizations used sacrifices to ensure the betterment of their group, or to eliminate sins. In some respects, it alludes to the Salem Witch Trials during the 1600’s in which Anne Hutchinson ostracized and “was banished to Rhode Island” (Chemeketa) for her then liberal ideals. In Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”, she uses allegory, symbolism, and foreshadowing in order to convey the theme that groupthink and/or mob mentality can dangerously allow people to blindly follow tradition impulsively without questioning it ethically.
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The “black box now resting on the stool” (265) is one the most important symbols. The black color represents death and punishments while the box represents entrapment. This foreshadowed the event that someone would die. It proves the theme that mob mentality leads to people following tradition impulsively because they do this event every year. Furthermore, they don’t question why this is ethically justified. “Mrs. Hutchinson came hurriedly along the path to the square,” (266) and is arguably the most vital symbol. The last name alludes to the story of Anne Hutchinson because she “challenged the role of women in Puritan society; she stood up for her beliefs and was not intimidated by men as other women in the colony had been. She was extremely bold and strong and she broke the mold of the average woman during her time” (Ruben). In many respects, the two are identical in characteristics and plot because at the end Mrs. Hutchinson is the only one to state that “It isn’t fair, it isn’t right” (271). This proves the theme of mob mentality because she went against it, however, she was inevitably stoned to death by people who themselves didn’t think of the ethical justification of the stoning. This also draws parallels to Anne Hutchinson’s story. Mrs. Delacroix is another vital symbol as she “stood next to [Mrs. Hutchinson]” (266). The …show more content…

Mr. Summers “was a round-faced, jovial man and he ran the coal business” (264) embodies an allegory. His name and nature are juxtaposing what happens at the end of the story. As Mr. Summers runs the coal business, it is known to be a wealthy profession. He can be considered wealthier than the people and he controls the outcome of the lottery, showing that individuals with wealth control people’s activities. This proves the theme because people follow him mindlessly and don’t question him ethically. Mr. Graves “followed him, carrying a three-legged stool,” (264) works in conjunction with Mr. Summers elementally in the plot. His name underlies the common connotation of graves, meaning place of death. These two characters, Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves, are both uniquely juxtaposed; Mr. Summers represents life and Graves represents death, thus why they share the ritual responsibilities. This is further shown because “The villagers kept their distance, leaving a space between themselves and the stool” (264). This proves the theme because the people sheepishly follow them every year without ethically questioning any of it. Mr. Adams who “was in front of the crowd of villagers,” (271) is also a key symbol. It refers to the biblical reference that Adam goes along with the sin and follows the evil of others. Mr. Adams questioned the ethical justification of the lottery; however, he was

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