The Importance Of Literary Elements In The Lottery By Shirley Jackson

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The short story “The Lottery,” by Shirley Jackson is full of literary elements. The old and innocent, small town atmosphere creates the perfect stage for this ironic tale. Several literary elements are evident throughout the composition but three specific elements stand out the most. Jackson’s unique ability to use tone and style, symbolism, and theme are what makes this story so fascinating.

Tone and style are critical literary elements in “The Lottery.” Imagery, syntax, and irony are all used to create this horrific story. Jackson vividly describes the day in which this story takes place giving it a specific date, and describing it as a nice and full-summer day where “the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green” (539). Imagery helps to set a positive mood, and suspend reality to draw the reader into the story. The syntax evolves over the course of the story as the tone of the story changes. The story starts off with longer descriptive
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The black box that is old and “[grows] shabbier each year,” represents the old traditions that are held with high esteem (540). The box has been repaired multiple times. There are talks about creating a brand new black box but those always fade away being as everyone wants to stick with the old box. The people do not want to break tradition. Everyone keeps “their distance, leaving a space between themselves and the stool” where the box sits (540). They revere the black box. Another use of symbolism is the lottery itself. The lottery represents traditions and ways of thinking that society goes along with because of how they are raised. The townspeople blindly go on with the tradition without truly knowing the significance. Mr. Adams suggests they give up the lottery like the neighboring towns, and Old Man Warner has to remind him of the significance saying, “Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon”
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