I want to know, what is the analogy of The Lottery?

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obrienk4 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson is the story of an average, small American town and the unusual tradition that they keep: that of stoning one townsperson to death every summer. When the story was published in The New Yorker, there were many harsh and confused reactions to the story, mostly just people who wanted to understand what the story was about and what Jackson's intentions were.

One possible interpretation of the story is that it is an analogy for traditions or rituals that are followed and kept around the world, even though they may be quite horrible, and the power that tradition and society have on individuals. Some examples we could think of are circumcision (both male and female), marrying girls off at a young age, and killing animals for certain rituals.

Jackson eventually did offer a possible explanation of her own in the San Francisco Chronicle in July 1948. She said,

“I suppose, I hoped, by setting a particularly brutal ancient rite in the present and in my own village to shock the story's readers with a graphic dramatization of the pointless violence and general inhumanity in their own lives.”

According to Jackson's interpretation, the story is an analogy for the general human barbary that can be found everywhere.