Literary Elements in The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson

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Would you believe that there was once a village where everyone would partake in a terrible event, but think it was innocent because of how they blindly followed a tradition? The short story, “The Lottery,” by Shirley Jackson communicates this theme by showing how the villagers participate in a lottery every year. In life, there are people who follow tradition because the have to, or they are used to following without question. The author, Shirley Jackson was born on December 14, 1916 in San Francisco, California. In 1937, Shirley Jackson attended Syracuse University where she began to write short stories. She was famous for the short story, “The Lottery,” and her best seller novel, “The Haunting of Hill House”. Shirley Jackson was…show more content…
The black dot is a symbol of the villagers needing a victim.
The shabby black box represents the tradition of the lottery. It is a major part of the village because it is breaking apart, but the villagers are still using it. However, they are renovating it to keep it from falling apart. “The black box grew shabbier each year: 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 2). The box may still be deteriorating, but the villagers are trying their hardest to keep it in shape. Gahr explains how the black box is significant to the story when she says that, “This box is a symbol for those in the town because it is one of the only connections to the origin of the lottery… the lost meanings of the tradition have in many ways made that tradition more powerful, because you can't question a tradition once it has moved beyond reason to simply the way things are done” (Gahr 1). The black box may be a symbol of evil, but the villagers are still using and renovating it because they are just blindly following a tradition.
The act of stoning is usually a symbol of punishment. It is one of the oldest and most common execution methods. However in The Lottery, the stones represent victory of the lottery. “Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example, selecting
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