What is the significance of Mr.Summers and Mr.Graves in "The Lottery"?The lottery is carried on by Mr. Summers, who owns the coal company, and Mr. Graves, the postmaster. What do the names and the...

What is the significance of Mr.Summers and Mr.Graves in "The Lottery"?

The lottery is carried on by Mr. Summers, who owns the coal company, and Mr. Graves, the postmaster. What do the names and the objects hint at?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The names of Mr. Graves and Mr. Summers are both important in Shirley Jackson's short story "The Lottery."

Mr. Summers name is one which adds irony to the story. The lottery takes place on June 27th. June falls into the summer months. As the story opens, the setting is described as a beautiful summer day.

The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green.

Both the beautiful summer day and the name of Mr. Summers add irony to the story given that the outcome of the day will be anything but beautiful. Mr. Summers, the one who runs the lottery can be seen as the one who, somewhat, controls the impending death. He holds the box, he calls the names, and he makes sure the lottery moves as planned. His name contrasts what his position in the lottery is.

Mr. Graves' name offers something very different. One can look at his name as offering foreshadowing. What this means is that anyone who comes in contact with Graves, which all villagers do, will possibly die and end up in a grave.

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