What are three symbols in Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" that relate to the theme?

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kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" is a story that is full of symbols. Symbols are found in this story in people, objects, and names. There is even a symbol that is a piece of furniture.

Three of the most prominent are the lottery itself, the black box, and the names of several of the characters. The lottery is symbolic of the cruelty and inhumane practices that still exist in the world today. One of the reasons Jackson wrote this story was to bring attention to the inhumanity found in society. Another symbol is the black box from which families' names are picked. It clearly represents the doom that is forthcoming death (imminent death). It also represents tradition since it is coming apart and splintering in areas. Finally, the names of some of the characters are symbols. For instance, Mr. Graves name is symbolic of death. Mr. Summers' name is symbolic of the tradition itself and the fact that it occurs in summer. Mrs. Delacroix's name is symbolic because it means "of the cross" in French. It is an ironic symbol because there is nothing remotely Christian about the tradition (as far as cruelty goes).


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