Symbolism in Lottery ( MLA STYLE )

In Shirley Jackson’s story “The Lottery” symbolism stands out to be the most important and fascinating component and makes the story worth of reading. The story itself stands out to be an exemplum than any other conventional story. The plot deals with a society so bogged down in traditions that it has become completely blind by the hypnotizing effect of so called customs and rituals which the villagers perform without any reasons and awareness. Rather they follow those traditions irrespective of the fact that they can harm the dwellers of the village. Since this is the threat that every society comes up with, this story fulfills its criteria of relevancy in part because the symbols referred in the story are partially explained. The current paper illuminates the idea of exploration of some of the significant symbols such as lottery, black box and summer that makes the story itself interesting. Also the symbolism here reflects the phenomenon that the tradition adopted in the story has destabilized the basic instinct of men to protect women. 
The most basic symbol of this story is the lottery. It indicates the aphoristic rituals and customs which jaunt our society. Those traditions are considered by author as insensible, but still they are done to follow the so called customs and belief of the society. Lottery here refers to the lottery box which symbolizes those dwellers in the village because they are the only connecting and relevant factor to the origin of lottery. For instance, Shirley states
“ The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny with the fresh warmth of a full summer day. The flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green” ( p. 291).
It has been utilized as anyone can commemorate, but is not the original lottery box. They rather believe that some fragments of the original box have been utilized to form a new one, but it is uncertain. So it can be stated that the original meaning of lottery has been abandoned by the author. The lottery here acts as allegory of village life itself which at first seems to be harmless, but then one is surprised with the restrained smiles and piles of stones.  The lottery therefore functions to be a combining force which brings the natives together as a community. So the old man Warner repeats a famous dialogue which states “Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon” ( p. 297) which is a declaration of their strong relevance with the lottery. Therefore, the lottery is more of an attraction mixed with tradition and an idea greater than obsession with the anticipated benefits.
In addition to this the black box symbolizes the physical disclosure of the dwellers’ connection to tradition. The villagers use this black box as an artifact of a primitive time to perpetuate their aggressive and merciless traditions. Like the lottery the symbol Black box also becomes obscure with unfolding of the story. Initially it will be too early to say that the treatment of the box by the villagers impersonate their thoughts on the subject concerning lottery as a whole. The old and worn out box does not upset the tradition of the villagers by replacing it. Infact it is used as artifact which is culturally as well as historically significant to the people of the village. The villagers boost confidence to the villagers to believe their customs of their forefathers; irrespective of the fact that these traditions do not contain any moral value. Even the black spot on the paper indicates that the person is marked as doomed as the spot demonstrates fate. When “ the postmaster Mr. Graves followed him carrying a three legged stool and the stool was put in the center of the square and Mr. Summers set the black box down on it” ( p. 292).
            Moreover, another interesting symbol is that of Mr. Summers. Summer suggests the season of warmth, happiness, sunlight and leisure time. Here in this story the character Mr. Summers is a character who is somehow ironic. The summertime indicates the ambiance of the village to be good.  The character of Mr. Summers indicates him a jovial man. But with the unfolding of the story, his behavior slowly changes and at the end of the story the person is seen to be stoned to death which creates an atmosphere of gloominess.  Mr. Summers occupies the central character in the story who not only brings light and warmth, but also the death and darkness. The execution method at the end of the story is not an enslaved choice. Stoning is one of the common and primitive ways of killing, but it also carries a symbolic pattern. It carries a symbolic reference from the Bible where it is depicted that many of the Christians were stoned to death. This phenomenon signifies the phenomenon of executing innocent people without any reason. The main reason for using stone as equipment for killing in past as well as in this story is that there is no single executioner. This indicates the fact that no one has to singly carry the guilt of doing the crime. So this is important to the story because it gives a clear idea of who the criminal is. This rejuvenates the fact that in this story “The Lottery”, the protagonist is not a single person, but a whole society.

In conclusion, the symbols in the story denote a feministic aspect of the author about the woman in America in 1948. This has many reasons to understand the so called abiding traditions to be just as corrupt traditions in the story. This depicts the fact that those primary traditions still exist in the society and the author somehow symbolically puts herself in a position where she is victimized.

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