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The Lottery Analysis, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 327

Essay

A  lottery is always associated with good things and invokes the words winning. It’s never thought of as losing its always about winning. In Shirley Jacksons “The Lottery” it is an allegory of the village life. Initially it seems harmless enough except for the little strange things like the children gathering stones. It is also an allegory about life itself some are lucky and others are not. Ultimately the ending is a statement by Jackson about life itself. This is very pessimist in philosophical terms. The stoning of Tessie at the end of the day tells us, life is unfair.

The black box has no utility or use except for the lottery. It seems to be a physical manifestation of not only the village’s links to tradition but also its past. The black box is also a play on Christian iconography where relics were not only prized but collected. Jackson is constantly using the religious symbolism. The three legged stool can be a religious symbol, a  play on the trinity. Not just the Christian one but a hint of the pagan roots of religion itself. The stone brings out the ritualistic aspect of the lottery. It may be an allegory for the Abrahamic faiths collective punishment using stones for adultery for example. The stones are also significant as murder tools for they were mans first tools and points to his brutal past. The names of the characters are also symbols Mrs. Graves an annotation to death and graves Mrs. Delacroix which means cross in old French.

The main theme is centered on blindly following tradition as well as the psychology behind mass cruelty. Considering the proximity of the work to world war two it is self evident that ‘The Lottery’ is an artistic exploration of the shackles of tradition and our inability to escape our history. Whether or not we agree, it has a psychological hold on individuals thus denying their fundamental right to individuality and a free consciousness.

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