Shirley Jackson Literary Devices

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In the short story, The Lottery, Shirley Jackson demonstrates her superb writing skills by implementing the themes of mindlessly following the herd and not questioning the unknown into a piece about a town devoted to a sacrificial tradition. She cleverly uses foreshadowing, symbolism, and conflict as literary devices to tie the pieces together and relate it to the real world.

Many items are presented throughout the timeline of the story that the readers may have not picked up. For example,“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. 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.” (Jackson 444). This quote from the story essentially displays the beat up and worn-down condition of the box. The villagers who were partaking in the tradition refused to replace the box even though it was hardly staying together. The black box represents their faithfulness and loyalty to the tradition. However, other items have been replaced such as using papers instead of chips of wood. “Because so much of the ritual had been forgotten or discarded, Mr. Summers had been successful in having slips of paper substituted for the chips of wood that had been used for generations.” (Jackson 444). Their logic of being devoted to one item and not the
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