In "The Lottery," can you explain the allusion and symbolism behind the names like Delacroix, Graves, Summers, Warner, Bentham, Hutchinson and Martin?   

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kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "The Lottery," Jackson has deliberately created characters with names that reinforce the central themes and ideas of the story. Mr. Summers, for example, is a name synonymous with joy and vitality, but it also reflects the irony at the heart of the story: that the lottery is not an event worth winning but rather an event associated with brutality and death.

Similarly, Old Man Warner's name reflects the warnings that he gives to the other townspeople. We see this, for instance, when Mr. Adams mentions that some other places have abandoned the lottery and Mr. Warner believes that this is a mistake:

"Nothing but trouble in that," Old Man Warner said stoutly. "Pack of young fools."

The name Delacroix also has some significance. This name, for instance, is French in origin and means "of the cross." This evokes a sense of martyrdom but is the exact opposite of what happens in this story: Tessie Hutchinson wins the lottery but she is not a willing martyr, just a victim of this brutal festival.

epollock | Student

Some of the names are symbolic while others were just the most popular names around at the time the story was written. Some of the names, too, are obviously significant: the ritual is presided over by Mr. Summers, the first man to draw a lot is Mr. Adams, and conservative warnings are uttered by Mr. Warner. Note, too, that the leaders of the attack on Mrs. Hutchinson are Adams (the first sinner) and Graves (the result of sin was death). Mr. Summers, a “round-faced, jovial man,” has the “time and energy to devote to civic activities.” His name is ironic, too, for summer usually connotes youth and freedom, but he perpetuates a deathly ritual.

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The Lottery

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