"The Lottery"

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  • "The Lottery" Symbols
  • "The Lottery" Symbols
  • 
  • By: Stella Vuskamuri
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  • The Black Box
  • The Ballots
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  • The Stones
  •     The Black Box is the heart of the ritual, & it is a religious relic that represents tradition. Even though it is falling apart, the village people still cling to it, & loathe to replace it.  In the story, it says,"Mr. Summers spoke frequently to the villagers about making a new box, but no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box" (Jackson 1).  Also, people often keep their darkest thoughts locked away in their minds. The black box could symbolize the human psyche, & explain the townspeople's motive for continuing the ritual killings.
  • The Lottery
  •     The slip of paper with the black dot on it shows the winner of the lottery, who are eventually stoned, & killed, but the black dot on the slip of paper means much more.  It  shows who is "marked" in real life. Innocent people are being killed, which is quite similar to that of how the Jewish were discriminated, & brutally murdered in the Holocaust. In the story Tessie says,"You didn't give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn't fair!" (Jackson 3).  Tessie who is clearly innocent, is the one who's stoned, & is the human sacrifice, so that the year's harvest would be well, & everyone turns on her, her friends, husband, & even her children just because the rules of the lottery claims that she has to be killed.
  • The 3-legged stool
  •     The stones symbolize death. The villagers threw stones at the winner of the lottery as human sacrifice for the harvest. This tradition shows how the younger generation has been taught to follow the tradition, but they really don't know what the tradition even is. In the story it says,"Bobby Marrtin ducked under his mother's grasping hand & ran, laughing, back to his pile of stones" (Jackson 1). The foolish tradition is passed on generation to generation, without there even being a deep consideration of what they taught their children. The children just casually collect stones, & not even realize what they are collecting it for, & that they've just brutally murdered someone.
  • The Lottery shows how death can come at any moment. As the black box grows shabbier each year,  & when the wood chips were changed to paper slips it shows how the tradition is slowly dying away. In fact, the vilagers have made an old adage,"Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon"(Jackson 4)., because they believe in keeping the tradition as part of their culture. The most ironic part is that the villagers all remember to  collect stones, & not the ritual salute or the chant, which is making the people forget what the real purpose of the lottery is. 
  •     The 3-legged stool represents how unsteady the village's lottery system was. In fact, the text states that, "...Mr. Martin & his eldest son Baxter came forward to hold the box steady on the stool, while Mr. Summers stirred up the papers inside it"(Jackson 1). The tradition once had a ritual salute, & even a chant, but that seems to be forgotten, even the wood chips were changed to paper slips, & soon the whole tradition will fade away eventually.  Mr. Warner said that he believed that the lottery was useful for the harvest, even though the others were complaining that other villages had stopped the lottery system, & they wanted to do so as well. 
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