The Lottery by Shirley Jackson is a chilling examination of conformity in society. Set in a small town, the story follows the inhabitants as they gather each year for an annual lottery that has deadly consequences. Through its narrative, the story highlights how easy it can be to fall into line with social expectations and customs, even when those customs are harmful or abusive.
The characters in The Lottery are presented as ordinary people, and their blind adherence to the lottery serves as a warning about the dangers of blindly following social norms without thought for their consequences. Ultimately, The Lottery is a powerful commentary on how conformity can have devastating effects, both for individuals and for society at large.
The Lottery, a short story by nonconformist writer Shirley Jackson, uses setting and most importantly symbolism to portray communities, America, the world, and conformist society as a whole in her inventive and obscure style. It was written in 1948 three years after the liberation of a World War II concentration camp at Auschwitz. Some people still dispute that the Holocaust occurred today.
The parallels between The Lottery and the Holocaust are undeniable—both stories use violent, conformist rituals to demonstrate how societies can be manipulated into turning against one another.
The story is set in a small town in New England, which for centuries has been steeped in tradition and conformity. The people of this town participate in an annual lottery ceremony that involves selecting someone at random to be stoned to death. The ritual serves as a reminder that the entire community is expected to conform to its rules, even at the expense of their own lives or the lives of others. The sinister nature of The Lottery represents how easily normal communities can become warped and cruel when they embrace conformity above all else.
Overall, The Lottery is a powerful exposition of the dangers of conformity in society. The story highlights how tradition and peer pressure can lead people to participate in violence, even when they know it is wrong. The lottery itself is a metaphor for the way that society can turn against individuals who do not conform to its norms. The story is a warning about the dangers of blindly following tradition and shows how the desire to fit in can have deadly consequences.
When the focus is on setting, as it generally is in Southern literature, The Lottery immediately comes to mind. This short story shows how memory, along with our history and culture, has shaped us into who we are today: a small, close-knit town where everyone knows everyone else’s business and most people go about their days untouched by evil.
For example, the Harlem Riots; the terrorist attacks of September 11; and the beating of Rodney King are all examples of this. Since Old Man Warner was a child, the same ritual has continued in The Lottery year after year. It appears that no matter what happens in town, residents never learn from past mistakes.
The lottery itself is a form of conformity because it is easier to go along with what everyone else is doing, rather than be the outcast. The townspeople are so caught up in their tradition that they do not see how immoral it is to stone someone to death, even if that person is chosen by random chance. The fact that no one questions the lottery shows how apathetic the town has become towards human life.
The only time anyone ever questions the lottery is when someone tries to stop it, like Mr. Summers does when he tries to talk about changing the box. The townspeople quickly shut him down because they do not want anything to change. The Lottery is an exposition of conformity in society because it shows how a community can be controlled by tradition and the fear of change.
Rosa Park is a hero for the African American community. She has guts, and she’s the only black woman out of millions who had been riding on the back of a bus for years and had the balls to confront “authority.” The setting of a small town is perhaps the simplest manner to represent society’s unwillingness to alter and people, as a whole, their refusal to inquire about something that has been going on since Day 1.
The Lottery is a ritualistic event in which each family draws one slip of paper out of a black box. The head of the household then read the name of the family member who will be stoned to death by the entire village. The symbolism used throughout Shirley Jacksons The Lottery exhibits how sacrifice, lack of individuality, and blindly following tradition can result in disastrous consequences.
The first symbol used in The Lottery is that of the black box. The black box is representative of tradition. It has been used in the lottery for as long as anyone can remember. No one knows where it came from or why it is black. The box is simply a vessel that holds the fate of whomever chooses the slip with the black spot.
Jackson is attempting to slyly imply that religion is hypocritical and conformist. How many Christians (people of God, the Father) attend mass only on Christmas and Easter to go to weddings and funerals? When these so-called religious people are in difficulty, they pray to God (selfishly enough), but they are first to label a Muslim or a Jew as an aggressor. As a result, little Dickie Of-the-cross builds up a pile of stones ready to be thrown.
The story The Lottery is an allegory that uses characterization, symbols, and setting to tell the reader about the dangers of blindly following tradition. The lottery in The Lottery by Shirley Jackson is a symbol for how people can be controlled by society.
The characters in the story are used to show how people conform to what society wants them to do. The setting is used to show how tradition can be passed down through generations without anyone questioning it. The main theme of The Lottery by Shirley Jackson is that blind conformity to tradition can have dangerous consequences.
Keep in mind that the surnames Jackson employed are all rooted in symbolism. Graves and Adams are two examples. These names may cause the reader to think of death unconsciously. (Jackson was a gothic writer, and this is a gothic work.) Summers is one of two males in town who was not chosen for the lottery drawing. This name might suggest happiness, enjoyment, or warmth to the reader. ) The black box from which the numbers are drawn is also used as symbolism.
The box is old and battered, as if it has been used for many years. The blackness of the box might represent death or evil. The lottery itself could be seen as a ritualistic sacrifice to ensure a good crop. The fact that the ritual involves human sacrifice makes it even more disturbing. (Why can’t we just burn some corn or something? )
The stones used to kill the sacrifice are also symbolic. They aren’t just any rocks, they are ancient, smooth rocks that have been used in the lottery for generations. The smoothness of the stones represents how mindless and thoughtless the people carrying out the lottery are.
The fact that the lottery has been going on for generations is also significant. It shows that the people in this town aren’t just conforming to a new tradition, they are blindly following an old one. The lottery is a perfect example of how people can be controlled by conformity. The people in this town don’t question the lottery because it’s what their ancestors did. They don’t question it because it’s tradition.
They don’t even question it when they see that it causes pain and suffering. The lottery is a reminder that we shouldn’t blindly follow tradition or conform to societal norms without questioning them first. We shouldn’t be afraid to stand up and ask why something is being done, even if it’s been done for years. Only then can we truly progress as a society.