Show MoreCritical Analysis for “The Lottery”
Shirley Jackson's short story, "The Lottery", aroused much controversy and criticism in 1948, following its debut publication, in the New Yorker. Jackson uses irony and comedy to suggest an underlying evil, hypocrisy, and weakness of human kind.
The story takes place in a small village, where the people are close and tradition is paramount. A yearly event, called the lottery, is one in which one person in the town is randomly chosen, by a drawing, to be violently stoned by friends and family. The drawing has been around over seventy-seven years and is practiced by every member of the town.
The surrealness of this idea is most evident through Jackson's tone. Her use of friendly language among the…show more content…
"Mr. Summers was very good at all this; in his clean white shirt and blue jeans, with one hand resting carelessly on the black box, he seemed very proper and important as he talked interminably to Mr. Graves and the Martins (122). The name Summers subtly identifies the mood of the short story as well as the administrator himself, "jovial" (121), auspicious, and bright. Mr. Summers is the man in front, the representative of the lottery, as his name symbolizes the up front, apparent, tone of the event. Mr. Graves, on the other hand, symbolizes the story's underlying theme and final outcome. Mr. Graves is Mr. Summer's assistant, always present but not necessarily in the spotlight. The unobvious threat of his name and character foreshadows the wickedness of the ordinary people, that again, is always present but not in the spotlight.
Along with hypocrisy, "the Lottery" presents a weakness in human individuals. This town, having performed such a terrible act for so many years, continues on with the lottery, with no objections or questions asked, and the main purpose being to carry on the tradition. "There's always been a lottery" (123), says Old Man Warner. "Nothing but trouble in that," he says of quitting the event. However, the villagers show some anxiety toward the event. Comments such as "Don't be nervous Jack" (123), "Get up there Bill" and Mrs. Delacroix's
Shirley Jackson's The Lottery Essay examples
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Shirley Jackson's The Lottery
After reading Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” several times over the many years, this story has many meanings beyond simply the words on the pages. These are left up to the speculation of the reader for the most part, which lets each individual come up with his or her own opinions to fuel an argument. I feel that much of the symbolism revolves around religion, in particular Christianity. To take the story at face value would nearly be an exercise in futility, for then the reader would be missing the deeper meanings found in the delicate symbolism that Jackson places throughout the tale. Indeed, the symbolic meanings of many of the people and things placed throughout the narrative depict certain…show more content…
This “three legged stool” is a representation of God, the legs being the three forms, which God takes; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the Christian concept known as the trinity. Just as the Bible is held up and given credibility by the belief of a God, the stool holds up the box. Nearly the two become one, the stool and the box, just as in Christian beliefs God and the bible are all but inseparable, much to the chagrin of others. Slips of paper, as insignificant as they may seem on the surface, take on meaning of great magnitude in the story. As each individual participant in the lottery finds that there paper is not the one marked, the paper is released and drifts away. The slips of paper come to represent the participant’s souls, here representing the untainted soul, drifting away and remaining free, as if going to heaven. In contrast Mrs. Hutchison’s slip of paper, which has a dark spot, shows that marred souls receive punishment after judgment, a common Christian belief.
I believe the symbolism here is trying to show us that only certain people can be lucky enough to fit within