An Analysis Of Shirley Jackson Short Story The Lottery

Symbolic Analysis of “The Lotto”

In the narrative “The Lottery game” by Shirley Jackson, the author utilizes a morbid lottery game system to represent problems of traditions in contemporary society. Through the use of significance ingrained in the story in the type of a raggedy black box and the dreadful lotto itself, the author lights up the common problem of people mindlessly following distorted and misconceived routines rooted in custom, and cautions them about doing so.

The black box in the short story can signify age-old customs and customizeds that people of all cultures have. Like all cultural customs, package is older and sentimental. Jackson even goes as far to explain it as being, “shabbier each year” (Jackson 1). This parallels the lottery tradition as an entire, along with the majority of contemporary customs and cultural activities. Initially, the box presumably started off very clean with sharp edges and shiny paint. But like the box, customs begin to fade and become distorted every year it is passed down. Take Christmas for instance. Christmas is really deeply rooted in Christian beliefs and stemmed as a day of celebrating the birthday of Christ. Nowadays, the new black box that was Christmas is a worn down, dull remnant of a box. Numerous now see Christmas as a time of the year to consume a great deal of food, get free gifts, and storm the nearby stores for the best offers. This is precisely what the author is trying to reveal the reader; that many traditions today are simple husks of the initial version, and to be careful when blindly following them due to the fact that they are “traditional”. Likewise, the townspeople are assured that package was developed with parts from the initial black box, making them contempt with the procedure since it sticks to tradition. This easily parallels jack-o-lanterns in modern society. Originally, they were utilized to ward off fiends and supply light in the dark nights. Today, jack-o-lanterns serve no practical function except to sell more Hallmark cards. Individuals validate spending money each year on these earthy gourds since they feel that it “stems from their heritage” and needs to be preserved at all expenses. This is precisely what the author attempts to caution us about; blindly trampling custom in hopes of maintaining it.

The lottery itself also seems to be very symbolic of a treatment in every day life that civilians just pertain to accept. We see Mr. Warner, the head honcho; ridicule a northern village, calling them a “Pack of crazy fools” for wishing to abolish the old lottery custom. (4) These individuals are bashed for having an extremely progressive perspective, rebelling against the unfair and irrelevant tradition. Today, this is quite similar to the gay marriage problem. Many people feel rooted in traditional marriage in between a man and a female, and absolutely nothing else. When individuals occur that defy this conventional perspective, they are frequently buffooned and belittled. We even see this in the short story too. When Mrs. Hutchinson is revealed to have the dot on her lotto, she immediately objects that, “It isn’t fair” (8 ). The townspeople rapidly dismiss this plea and proceed to stone her to her death. Morally, these people have to recognize that it is incorrect to eliminate an individual at random every year, however they do not wish to break tradition. This is extremely comparable to spiritual sacrifices all throughout history. In religion, it is thought that a sacrifice of sorts will bring plentiful harvest for the year to come. This sounds very comparable to Old Man Warner’s quote, “Lotto in June, corn be heavy soon” (4 ). In both circumstances, people were blindly following tradition due to the fact that they did not look for modification, even if it was for the greater good. Jackson acknowledges this kind of unsafe yet conventional thinking in the contemporary period and shows a potential dystopian outcome if we as a species do not find out to adapt our point of view.

It is quite clear how Shirley Jackson feels about individuals getting captured up in thinned down customs. Through the importance of the town’s black box, and the annual lottery procedure, Jackson makes a very strong and careful caution about the risks of blindly following the crowd in cultural routines.

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