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What Is The Symbolism In The Lottery By Shirley Jackson

Decent Essays
Most people have some sort of tradition that they follow, be it a family tradition or a morning routine, while most are harmless or have some positive effect there are a few that exist that are negative. This could be made worse if one such negative tradition takes over their life. In “The Lottery” the townsfolk gather for what at first seems like a harmless, fun tradition, a yearly lottery. But, as the story progresses it becomes apparent that there is more going on that first meets the eye. Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” uses symbolism to show the theme: tradition isn’t always right, dialogue to get readers predicting and start to reveal the sinister nature of what was really going on in the story, and revealing actions to raise the…show more content…
The dialogue used for this purpose is the conversation between Mr. Adams, Mrs. Adams, and Old Man Warner on page 4 while they are waiting for the lottery results and waiting their turn to take their paper. Readers can use this conversation to make predictions because of the way they talked about the lottery. This begins on page 4 when Mr. Adams says,“They do say… over in the north village they’re talking of giving up the lottery.” this was a seemingly harmless comment at the time, but it becomes evident that there is more meaning to it when Old Man Warner responds. He states,“Pack of crazy fools… Listening to the young folks, nothing’s good enough for them… There’s always been a lottery.”(Jackson 4). This shows that Old Man Warner takes the lottery unusually seriously, so readers will likely begin to predict that there is more to the lottery than previously thought. The last piece of the conversation that starts to reveal the sinister nature and get readers predicting is when Old Man Warner says,“Seventy-seventh year I’ve been in the lottery… Seventy-seventh time.” this is a noticeably odd comment so readers likely infer that there is something more meant by this so they may begin to think about the other things that were said in this piece of dialogue that seemed off. If you combine what you can learn…show more content…
Towards the end of the story the villagers begin to make some actions that reveal their intentions and as a result, raise the stakes of what had been going on in the story. The first such action that the villagers take is that all of them begin to pick up rocks and walk towards the “winner”, Tessie. Tessie seems to already know what is happening or what will happen and as a result of her reaction, the reader can tell that something major in relation to Tessie is at risk. Then, Tessie protests and claims that the lottery wasn’t conducted fairly and in response the other villagers don’t directly respond and instead say,“Let’s finish quickly.”(p.7). This “response” is unusual and makes the reader wonder what they are finishing, as of this point readers can tell the mood has drastically changed from previous parts of the story and that there is something at risk, but not specifically what it is. The action the villagers take next is beginning to throw stones at Tessie, this shows the reader that the villagers are trying to kill Tessie and this raises the stakes because it shows that her life is at risk. Thus, the actions the villagers take towards the end of the story raise the
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