How does the author of "The Lottery" use symbolism by way of violence and cruelty?

The stones thrown to kill the lottery victim are the main symbol of violence and cruelty in the story. Jackson uses a cruel ritual to critique mindlessly adhering to outdated traditions.

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Stones are a recurrent symbol of violence in Jackson's short story.

After the first paragraph setting up the seemingly idyllic June event on the village green, Jackson introduces the stones in paragraph two—and chillingly associates them with children. Bobby Martin, we find, has filled his pockets with stones, and other schoolchildren have made piles of stones in preparation for what is to come. This shows how early in life a cruel tradition is internalized as normal by the villagers.

In contrast to the children, the men stand away from the stones: this symbolizes that they have a more mature understanding of the evil they are participating in and are trying to deny their association with it as long as possible.

Yet, despite the denial and the pretense that all of his normal, when the time comes, the villagers grab the stones willingly. Mrs. Delacroix picks up a stone so large she has to hold it in two hands. Mrs. Dunbar gasps for breath as she runs holding stones in both hands. The stones offer a graphic image of how quickly the townspeople turn on their friend and neighbor, a person they were talking to cheerfully just a few moments before.

The violence of a group slaughter of a person through stoning highlights the barbarism of hanging onto to a superstitious and unneeded ritual.

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