The Lottery: Symbolism

This essay has a total of 443 words and 2 pages.

The Lottery: Symbolism


In "The Lottery," Shirley Jackson uses symbolism to make us aware of the pointless nature of humanity regarding tradition and violence. The story starts off on a beautiful summer day in a small town. The author describes the day as very euphoric but strikes a contrast between the atmosphere of the town and the atmosphere of the people gathered in the square. The atmosphere is subdued, where the children are "gathered around quietly."
The black box is the central theme or idea in the story. It symbolizes at first some type of mystery, but as we read the ending we realize that it is synonymous with doom. Someone's fate lies in an inanimate object, the black box. We do not always enjoy change, even if it might prove beneficial to us. The box is symbolic of our loathing of change; it is old and splintered showing that we cling to what is familiar rather than change and it also symbolizes the traditions of the community. No one in the little town questions the origin of the black box, but accept it as an intrical part of their lives.

The lottery itself is symbolic of the paradox of the human psyche between compassion on one hand and the thirst for violence and cruelty on the other. An example of this

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