Posted: February 15th, 2023

Literary Analysis on “The Lottery“ by Shirley Jackson

“The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson is a short story that delves into the disturbing tradition of an annual lottery held in a small village. The practice of conducting such lotteries was once common throughout Europe and North America, but this particular tale paints an especially bleak portrait of human nature. Through its symbolic characters and settings, Jackson conveys the theme that blindly following tradition can lead to horrific consequences.

One example of symbolism used in “The Lottery” is the setting itself. As opposed to most stories, which typically feature happy settings filled with joyous people, this story takes place in a remote village on a sunny summer day. This imagery creates a feeling of ominous calmness as locals go about their business without any indication that something sinister is about to take place; it serves as foreshadowing for what will follow later in the story. Even more telling is how quickly everyone abandons their normal activities when they hear Mr Summers shouting out the names for participation in the lottery: “the voices began to gather again…Little Davy Hutchinson…his father said something.” Here we see just how deeply entrenched this cruel ritual has become among these villagers – even children are expected to participate.

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Literary Analysis on “The Lottery“ by Shirley Jackson

Another important symbol present in “The Lottery” is Tessie Hutchinson, who serves as both victim and protagonist within the story’s narrative arc. From her first appearance she seems ill at ease with her environment, as if she knows what lies ahead (or perhaps already has). She also stands out from other characters because she arrives late to the gathering and attempts several times – albeit unsuccessfully – to call off or at least delay proceedings until she can be included properly: “Clean forgot what day it was,” Tessie says after being scolded by Old Man Warner for not realizing it was time for ‘the Lottery’. Through her character we get insight into one person’s perspective on whatever horror might befall them should they choose not partake in this bizarre ritual; while some may accept it without question citing tradition or fear, others like Tessie do so reluctantly with trepidation beneath their façade of compliance.

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In conclusion, Shirley Jackson’s use of vivid symbolism brings an air of dread and suspense over “The Lottery.” Through careful planning and using symbols such as setting and character development she emphasizes her point: blindly following traditions can lead us down paths we never intended nor desired take us down.. By showing us how easily such practices can become accepted norms among those partaking in them — no matter how sickeningly unenlightened — Jackson forces readers to consider what lurks beneath our own collective behavior before it too becomes ingrained within society’s accepted frameworks

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