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Tradition And Symbols In The Lottery By Shirley Jackson

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Shirley Jackson is known as one of the most brilliant and talented authors of the twentieth century. One of her most popular short stories is "The Lottery". "The Lottery" was published in the New York Yorker on June 28, 1948. This short story received a popular amount of attention from the readers. It was also considered to be a very twisted story because of the tradition the town members had adapted to over the years where one randomly chosen member of the town will be stoned to death each year by friends and family. In the story, Shirley Jackson helps raise attention to the evil and random tradition that is inhuman. In the short story, Jackson uses the black box, Old Man Warner, and Tessie Hutchinson as symbols to show that people will continue…show more content…
Every time the lottery takes place, names of the town member are picked out from the black box. The box represents the tradition of the lottery and the loyalty the villagers have towards it. Throughout the story, the black box was mentioned multiple times stating that no matter how old or torn the box was, the people did not want to get a new one. At the beginning of the story, Jackson writes "Mr. Summers spoke frequently to the villagers about making a new box, but no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box" ( Jackson 697). There is no reason to actually keep the same box so many reader believe that is illogical. The attachment the town members have on the black box shows how much they do not want to replace it with a new box. The black box got more worn out each year they used it, ".....by now it was no longer completely black but splintered badly along one side to show the original wood color, and in some places faded or stained" (Jackson 697). In the story, it mentions that the villagers are so loyal because the box has pieces from the box that came before it. The villagers follow a tradition by using the same old black box with pieces from the previous box. It's a ritual for the villagers to use the black box for the lottery every year, so it became a tradition for the town to…show more content…
his character symbolizes the people who usually resist any change to their life. When Old Man Warner's character was first introduced, it was shown to the readers that he is a man who isn't fond of change. In the story, one town member stated how some of the other town members want to give up the lottery and Old Man Warner answers with, "Pack of crazy fools...Listening to the young folks, nothings good enough for them. next thing you know, they'll be wanting to go back to living in caves, nobody work any more, live that way for a while......There's always been a lottery" (Jackson 699-700). The reader should know that the members of that town won't really be going back to living in caves and that they would be "eating stewed chickweed and acorns"( Jackson 700). By reading what Old Man Warner was saying, the reader should assume that he is just resisting change in his town that would be for the better. While Old Man Warner was talking to Mr. Adams about getting rid of the lottery he mentioned that whoever wants to give it up that they are a "Pack of crazy fools" and that "There's always been a lottery". Those two statements show how narrow minded he is about changing a twisted tradition the town has or even changing the way he does things in his life. The lottery has existed way before Old Man Warner was born, which is why he fond of giving up this tradition and
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