Summary Of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

1385 Words6 Pages
Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” is an amazing fiction short story. This story is highly focused on symbolism, imagery, and allegory. These three literary devices are what make this story as successful and impactful as it is. This profound impact from symbolism is more immediate and keeps readers interested throughout the story. It does not take much creative thought to connect the objects in the story and how they foreshadow their use. This story is quite morbid and has dark symbolism to support its twisted plot. In fact, this story relies heavily on this literary element. The title itself is a symbol. The genius of the symbol of the lottery is that it doesn't turn the entire idea of a small-town community lottery completely on its head. The…show more content…
Shirley Jackson uses the names of a few citizens to foreshadow the story and tell what "The Lottery" truly is. Joe Summers’s personality mimics that of a summer day and the lottery takes place during Summer. He had the energy to run civic activities and is described as a “round-faced jovial man” (Jackson, 1991). He somehow keeps a joyful and positive persona throughout the horrid tradition which is taking place. Yet he does not bring life, in fact, he takes one. This is slightly hinted because he runs a coal mine which implies a dark side to this cheerful man. Coal is black and black is known to denote death. Mr. Graves’s name alludes to death and seeing as he is the head of the post office he will have to deliver the “grave” news of who has won the lottery and has been stoned to death. He even has the job of swearing in Mr. Summers. He is the ultimate authority in this murderous lottery where the winner goes to the grave. Delacroix means “of the cross” in Latin, French, and various other languages. The mispronunciation in the story as Mrs. Delacroix – pronounced Dellacroy – symbolizes the corruption of religion and ritual in this town. Mrs. Delacroix has the most obvious change in character in the story. She switches from being chatty and close friends with Kathy Tessi Hutchinson to grabbing the first and largest stone she could manage to throw at her “friend”. She “selected a stone so…show more content…
Starting off as an ominous pile collected by the children of the village they turn into the murder weapons of “The Lottery”. There is a specific reason Jackson decided on death-by-stoning. Stoning is a crowd engendered death. The horror of "The Lottery" is not someone is murdered, or even someone is murdered while everyone watches. The disgust is everyone takes part in the murder. The first human tools were made of stone and made them significant as a murder tool in this story. Though they upgraded to paper slips, forgotten the original ritual, and lost the original black box, “they still remembered to use stones” (Jackson 1991). This lottery’s roots run deep into the earliest form of human violence. Stoning also appears specifically in the religious texts of all three Abrahamic religions – Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. The villagers are portrayed as simple people throughout the story until the last passage when they become savage beasts carrying out an age-old ritual. When the villagers brutally stone the citizen who "won" the lottery, it displays how their moral values are decimated to the point where they now are cold, heartless beings, no different than the inanimate stones they use for the deadly act every June (Cassel,
Open Document