Summary Of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery Symbolism

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In society there are some things that we will do without ever questioning why. No one really has an answer for why we do it, we just do. Traditions are passed from generation to generation, even if we have no backing for what we do, we just know it’s “good” and it’s “tradition” so it’s a part of us. In the short story, “The Lottery”, Shirley Jackson uses imagery and symbolism to show that evil can be present in the most innocent environment, resulting in society being tainted with dark illusion. In life, we often fail to realize that simple objects can symbolize something that is deep, dark and evil. This story uses these simple objects like the black box, the slips of paper, the stones to symbolize brutality and narrow-mindedness. The most…show more content…
In many stories, the number three stands out because it is affiliated with the three aspects of the Christian Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit). Regarding the story, you can’t tell if Jackson wanted religion to play a strong role. However, some may argue that the use of the stool to support the black box represents how religion is manipulated to support violence. It can be inferred as to also having the powers that carry society to being violent and evil. The stool is said to not have started out in the beginning of the lottery. “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.” (128) It could be inferred that the stool was put there to hold an underlying religious meaning or just something that was found to hold the box. As Old Man Warner states that, “It’s not the way it used to be,” (132) it’s implying that people have lost their ability to use their emotions and the tradition has overpowered the community. You can relate this to religion by seeing how religion can impact many people in all types of ways. In this case, however, the sort of “religion” that they follow is changing the people for worse by making this society become violent. It is ironic that the Christian Trinity represents purity and holiness, while the black box represents sin and death. This is significant because the box manipulates the religion to support the violence that will soon occur, thinking its “okay” to stone someone to death for religious purposes. As Tessie Hutchinson states at the end, “It wasn’t fair,” (131), and she was correct. It isn’t fair to sacrifice innocent people just because God would have wanted the townspeople to do so. That isn’t how it works. This is just
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