The Lottery, By Shirley Jackson

Decent Essays

In Shirley Jackson’s story “The Lottery,” the symbolism, tone, and irony portray the author’s perspective on the theme of transitioning from old traditions. The black box in “The Lottery” symbolized an illogical loyalty to an old tradition, how quickly family and friends can turn on a person, and the mindless killings of innocent people. From the reader’s point of view, the tradition of the lottery is absurd and irrational, but for the citizens in the town, the tradition was all they had ever known. They saw it as a way of life. Even when it was said that people in the North were thinking of getting rid of the lottery, the people in the town would not hear any of it. “Old Man Warner snorted. ‘Pack of crazy fools,’ he said. ‘Listening to the young folks…’” (Jackson, 254). It was not coincidental that the person who made this statement was Old Man Warner. The author might have wanted to symbolize that the older that people get the more they get stuck in their ways and less open for change. Another absurdity of the lottery was that people cared more about keeping the tradition than watching their family and friends be stoned to death. Tessie Hutchinson, for example, seemed to be a popular member of the town because of how the people responded good-humoredly to her. Even with her popularity, her friends and family still had no qualms with stoning her to death. “Mrs. Delacroix selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands…” (Jackson, 256). From the

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