Symbols in The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

649 WordsJan 30, 20183 Pages
In most peoples minds, the word “lottery” signifies huge winnings, but for the townspeople in the story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson the word brings forth fear and devastation. The lottery starts off as a seemingly innocent event which immediately turns into feared, mass chaos in the town. The symbols Jackson incorporates into the story contribute to the fact that everything in this town must be replaced and that some things we must let go of to start fresh with. Although, having said that, people don’t realize when a tradition becomes outdated and when the time comes to put it behind. Shirley Jackson uses several symbols to show how traditions become obsolete and that we must have an open mind to adapt to new, plausible ones, symbols including the black box, the stones, and the townspeople. The black box represents the tradition of the lottery, a common ritual that cannot be changed. The concept of the lottery goes back further than anyone can recall. According to the villagers, the annual lottery will never be changed or forgotten, since they’ve grown accustomed to it. The black box symbolizes the old, junky, worn-out repetition of the lottery which they still do every year. Due to the old age of the black box, it deteriorates every day, just like the existence of the lottery, people have difficulty even determining the color of the box. Since the town has owned it for many years, they refuse to replace it because of the tradition and memories it holds, much
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