Symbolism And Literary Elements In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

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Symbolism and Literary Elements in
Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" In "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson we see several literary elements used to both shock the reader and teach a valuable lesson about the inherent nature of man. From the detailed description of the setting to the use of color and foreshadowing Jackson demonstrates how a writer can tell a story that reveals new elements with every reading. "The Lottery" describes the dangers of blindly following tradition and the harm this can bring both to society and to families caught in the trap of blindly following what they consider to be societal norms. Through the use of literary devices Jackson relates the story to the reader, both preparing them for the inevitable conclusion and shocking them into understanding an important lesson about the world. In the beginning of the story Jackson introduces
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The summer solstice was an important part of pagan society and the three legged stool could also be linked to the "tripod of the Delphinic oracle" (Nebeker 106) and the ancient Pagan fertility rites performed to ensure crop health. Jackson places allusions to crops and village life in other places as well, with men "speaking of planting and rain" (251) and the discussion of Mr. Dunbar, unable to attend due to a broken leg, as not being fit to take part. This allusion is particularly important as it relates strongly to the sacrifice of both Christian and Pagan rites maintaining "purity and wholeness" (Nebeker 104) in order to fulfill the necessary requirements for religious purposes. This is reaffirmed by a character as well when Old Man Warner talks negatively about ending the lottery. Old Man Warner exemplifies the nature of man and his willingness to stick with what he believes works. His ideals and the generation he represents is clearly shown in the following passage written by
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