"I believe in being an innovator."
"I believe in being an innovator."
Throughout the short story of “The Lottery”, Shirly Jackson presents one with various symbols and attributes that later denote the irony of what “The Lottery” really is. What starts out as a bright and peaceful summer day later unfolds into a twisted stoning event. Each and every detail used in this short story is a clue connecting to the final eventuality of the story. For it is throughout the entirety of the short story that Shirly Jackson does a great job of illustrating how people, objects, and actions all work together to create symbolism.
A great example presenting symbolism would be the names of the townspeople. Mr. Summers’ name, for one, is representing the irony of the evil that awaits its place later in the short story. Summer is usually thought to be a cheerful and joyous time - the sun shines and the children play; everything and everyone is elated. Perhaps one of the more obvious links would be the name Mr. Graves. As the name implies, Mr. Graves is a name of death foreshadowing the future outcome of “The Lottery.” The final lead Shirly Jackson creates would be through the name Mrs. Hutchinson. In the earlier years of the New England Experiment Anne Hutchinson was known as someone who could stand up for herself, precisely the case for the Mrs. Hutchinson presented in Jackson’s writing.
Another representation of symbolism would be through the use of objects. Perhaps the most obvious of these objects would be the black box in which the citizens draw from. Black is culturally knows as a dark and evil color – a color suggesting death. Jackson’s choice of using black for the box fits perfectly into the theme of the story and prevails as yet another element foreshadowing the future death of an inhabitant. A further object highlighting the use of symbolism would be the flimsy slips of paper that replaced the older wood chips in the lottery event. This almost brings about a question as to just who is the piece of paper here. The very people that once stood solid on the stoning event are now like pieces of paper in the wind – unable to find their own ground for this harsh tradition.
The final trait of symbolism Jackson utilizes would best be represented though people’s actions. Towards the beginning when the young boys are stacking the stones and getting ready for the lottery event one is not aware that this very pile will be used to stone somebody later on. When this is first encountered it is simply seen as children having fun and playing as they normally would; however, Jackson is just deepening the artificial mood of delight. A second case would be later on during the stoning when Mr. Delacroix grabs for a stone that is so large she can barely carry it. This just adds to the case that a few moments ago she was afraid to loose her own life, and here she is now, one with the crowd and among the first to follow the trend.
Shirly Jackson presents her symbolism in such a clever fashion that it is almost unnoticed the first time through the story. For it is only after the story is completed that one comes back to re-read and extend the use of the symbols to the fullest. And it is after this final examination that one can reach out and apply the concepts of the short story to their traditional beliefs and values, and truly enjoy the masterpiece that Jackson has so graciously brought to life.Filed under: Misc, Misc