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Critical Criticism Of The Lottery

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According to Helen E. Nebeker, most acknowledge the power of The Lottery, admitting that the psychological stun of the ritual murder in an atmosphere of modern, small-town normality cannot be easily overlooked. Virgil Scott, for instance, says that the story leaves one uneasy because of the author's use of incidental symbolism: the black box, the forgotten tuneless chant, the ritual salute to assure the entire recreation of the mechanics of the lottery neglect to serve the story as they might have. At that point, they indicate structural weakness by acknowledging that Jackson has preferred to give no key to her story but to leave its meaning to our imagination, allowing a good deal of flexibility in our interpretation, while yet demanding that everything in the story has been obtained to let us know how we are to 'take' the ending events in the story. Maybe the critical conflict illustrated above stems from failure to see that The Lottery really intertwines two stories and subjects into one fictional vehicle. The obvious, easily discovered story shows up in the facts, wherein members of a small rural town meet to decide who will be the victim of the annual savagery. The symbolic hints which develop in a second, sub rosa story becomes apparent as early as the fourth word of the story when the date of June 27th alerts us to the season of the summer solstice with all its connotation of ancient ritual. From the symbolic development of the box, the story moves quickly to climax.
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