The Lottery Symbolism Analysis

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The Lottery by Shirley Jackson is one short story that just about anyone could understand. It starts off as a simple village where everyone knows everyone, but once a year a person's life would be taken because of their dark tradition. However, the reader is unaware of the true depth of the horrible ritual until the end of the story. Instead, as they are reading, they have this continuous sense of foreboding. One of the key aspects of the story that helped to support the building dread the readers feel was the symbolism found throughout the story. Shirley Jackson, in her short story The Lottery, uses the following symbols to illustrate the violence people would uphold because of their traditions or beliefs: the villagers, black box, black dot,…show more content…
Like all symbolic items there is meaning behind the shape and color of an item. The black color, of course, means death while the shape could represent a coffin or tomb. The concentration camps just so happened to have been dark and dismal places that served as the final resting place for many of its inhabitants. The box had obviously been used for a long time, too, as stated in the fifth paragraph of the lottery: it was "splintered" (p. 237) and "faded or stained" (p. 237) showing that it had been used for what must have been generations. The long custom has made it so that the residents did not want to make a new box even when their current one was falling apart. As it was stated in the story "no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box" (p 237). The black box could also be a conventional symbol as something religious especially since it was placed on the three-legged stool that would be symbolic of the Christian ideology of the holy…show more content…
Either way, the short story used all its components to paint for the reader a deceptively innocent village with a cruel and inhumane custom. The tradition of the lottery had been upheld by the people for so long that they could no longer see how horrid it truly was. Instead, they mistakenly believed it was a good practice in their lives. A lesson to be learned from The Lottery is that unjust brutality, or any kind of cruelty, should not be condoned no matter
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