The Lottery By Shirley Jackson British Literature Essay

"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson is a story of a unique town captured in a trap of always pursuing tradition, even when it isn't in their best interest. Jackson uses icons throughout the storyplot that relate with the overall theme. This helps the reader clearly understand her main note. Jackson uses preparing, tone and icons to convey a style to her audience. In so doing she creates significant connections to the theme using old man Warner and the dark box as examples.

The setting up and tone in "The Lottery" are incredibly important aspects that give the reader a feeling of where they can be and a standard feeling of what the story should be like. In the beginning, Jackson is very specific in talking about the setting of her storyline. She says "The day of June 27th was clear and sunlit, with the fresh warmth of a full summer months day" (250). Imagining this puts the reader in a place that seems very welcoming. It's the start of summer time and everything is getting ready for a fresh beginning. This is very misleading because Jackson gives her audience the sense that is a normal town that moves about their daily lives equally any other town would. But this is not the case when it's later revealed that it is an end rather than new starting because the winner of the lottery is stoned to death. The build of the storyplot quickly changes once the reader realizes what the idea of the lottery is really. There is something very secretive and bizarre about this town that leaves the reader numerous questions about why it is the way it is, and how it surely got to end up like this. Old man Warner relates to this as he's the oldest man around. He symbolizes the custom in this uncommon ritual the villagers partake in.

Old man Warner performs a key role in Jackson's tale "The Lottery", as he's one of the key icons. Mr. Warner is the oldest man around and has participated in seventy-seven lotteries. He represents the custom of the lottery in his town. Younger generations around tell him that other areas have stopped retaining lotteries. He considers they are simply a "Pack of crazy fools" (254) for attempting to stop the lottery. He is convinced by retiring the tradition that "They will be wanting to get back to moving into caves" (254). Matching to Mr. Warner, the lottery is the only thing keeping society secure. As a man of superstition he feels that a human being sacrifice is the one rational answer for insuring that their plants are good, observed in the brand "Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon" (254). Mr. Warner allows just how things are because this is the way they have always been. Changing custom would be disastrous in his eyes. The other main image in "The Lottery" is the dark container. Unlike old man Warner, the dark-colored box presents the absence of tradition. It is because the container itself is not passed down, somewhat it offers only been the ideas and rituals which were passed through years. Only bits of the original container remain. In the very beginning of the lottery the villagers used solid wood chips rather than paper. Over time the small details of the lottery have been lost and everything that remains is the true intention of it. The villagers are blindly carrying out a ritual that has lost most of the tradition, and only holding lotteries simply because there has been one.

The theme in this brief story is the fact that blindly following tradition can be very dangerous. That is proven to the audience through the bizarre ritual of murdering innocent people just because tradition says so. The city is becoming so immersed in this tradition that they fail to see the damage it is creating in their world. Old man Warner is a perfect exemplory case of this because in his eye there is little or nothing wrong with the tradition of the lottery. He's so committed to the traditions that he believes the village will go back to a more primitive time if indeed they stop having lotteries. This is very ironic because the traditions they are pursuing has been passed on through generations, the idea of human being sacrifice for success in their vegetation is a very primitive way of thinking. Mr. Warner does not question this custom and would easily eliminate someone due to the fact the traditions of the lottery is all the justification he needs. The dark box may also be related to this because it is seen to carry very traditional ideals, but in fact it's the opposite. The box is falling aside from years useful and is only made from a bit of the original dark field. The villagers starting their loyalty with the container on nothing more than stories that it's made from bits of the old one. This goes to show that the villagers are blindly pursuing tradition just because it is definitely done this way.

Throughout the storyline the reader is able to clearly see how Jackson uses setting, tone, and symbols to make a very entertaining account. The setting up and firmness in "The Lottery" is very different than most. She tips the audience into convinced that the city and village people she describes are normal, when in reality this isn't true. The audience later realizes about the abnormal ritual this town techniques and the complete tone of the storyline changes. A couple of two main symbols in this account, one being old man Warner, and the next being the dark-colored box. Both of these symbols supply the reader a feeling of tradition, with Mr. Warner not wanting to stop the lottery, and with the black box being only symbolic. Jackson leaves her audience with a great theme that can be applied to any culture and any time period.

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