31 March 2018
Shirley Jacksons, The Lottery, talks about her feelings concerning the rituals through her story. It shows the readers to properly group and question some of today s traditions as cruel, and allows room to foreshadow the outcome of these unusual traditions. The Lottery is a short story that records the annual sacrifice ceremony of a small town. It is a narrative of the selection of the person to be sacrificed, this is known as process known to the townspeople as the lottery. “Jackson conveys her cautionary message on tradition by establishing a tension between the brutality of the ritual practice and the fact that it has lost much of its specificity and functionality over the years.”( Michelson) The quote shows that the rituals were meant to show the cruelty of the modern times. This selection is extremely rich in symbolism. Shirley Jackson uses symbolism to make readers aware of the pointless nature of humanity regarding tradition and violence. There are three main types of symbolism in this piece: characters names, objects, and numbers.
The names of the characters play a huge role in the story. Some examples like Delacroix, are rather religious natures. Others, such as Adams, are a bit more obscure. The Delacroix family has a name that means of the cross. The principal Delacroix character, Mrs. Delacroix, appears several times throughout the short story. She functions as a friend to Tessie Hutchinson, the woman ultimately selected for the sacrifice, but turns on her at the end along with the rest of the townspeople. Delacroix is not angry with Hutchinson, but helps kill her because of the tradition. The symbolism here is apparent. The church, usually seen as a positive influence, can sometimes turn on a person in the name of ritual and tradition.
Mr. Adams, another character, is the first to draw from the lottery box. His name, Adams, coupled with the fact that he is the first man to draw from the lottery box, indicates that he is biblically representative of humanity. Like the other characters, he is supposed to stand for the average person. This illustrates that the story is universally applicable to everyone.
Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves also have symbolic names. Mr. Summers, the owner of a coal business, runs all the civic activities, including the lottery. His name is a representative of the lottery itself, which occurs every summer. Jackson makes certain readers know the lottery is an annual tradition. Old Man Warner quotes an old saying, Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon. Mr. Graves, the town postman, assists Mr. Summers in directing the ceremony of selecting the unlucky lottery winner. Just as he is an integral part of the drawing, his name symbolizes the element of death that is an integral part of the lottery process.
The black box is the central theme or idea in the story. The box symbolizes, at first, some type of mystery. However, as we read the ending, it...