The Lottery and Other Stories


Violence Rooted in Human Nature in the Lottery, We Real Cool, and Daddy

April 13, 2021 by Essay Writer


Violence is the primitive harsh desire that exists in all kinds of creatures. Violence is everywhere. It lives in human genes in various forms: crime, war, blind obedience. Even if humans define themselves as intelligent species, this is human nature and cannot change. In various perspectives, “The Lottery,” “We Real Cool,” and “Daddy” all expound how violence affects the lives of humans.

The Lottery

“The Lottery” went straight to the point in the form of collective participation in a so-called democracy, the social activities where everyone has equal opportunities conventional methods of democracy can still be collective atrocities that destroy individuals, and even kill people. It analyzed the human nature, irony of groups, and condemnation of the Holocaust; and of course violence covered by democracy and religion. The story has a dystopian background. At the beginning of the story, the tone is suspenseful, and the whole process of the lottery started in a peaceful time and a beautiful town which is a massive difference compared to the villagers’ tradition of violence. The details are quite significant. For example, at the end of the story, the author mentioned that ” Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remember to use the stone” (Shirley Jackson, 425). The quotes showed that even though the activity had already lost its original meaning, the people who live in the village still let the violence keep going which means that the violence was rooted down in their souls, the killing will never stop.

We Real Cool

Likewise, “We Real Cool” elaborates on distinct violence. This poem is from seven pool players; it is about young people who lived a fleeting life like fireworks. At first, they were pleased with the fascinating lifestyle they outlined in the whole poem, but this brutal violence mood suddenly ended in the last line, when their death appeared to be the consequence of their actions. In the middle of the poem, another meaning of the word ‘strike’ is violence. Whether they are going to commit crimes now or in the future, it makes the seven pool players more dangerous. The next line is ‘We sing sin ‘(Gwendolyn Brooks, 730). Singing sin essentially means that these guys are celebrating that they sinned. They had no moral obligations and thought committing crimes were fun. It shows that they do what they want to do, the seven pool players may not be appropriately guided to correct their negative ideas, and it caused them to think that violence is exciting.


Eventually, the poem “Daddy” is the most complicated of the three literary works. It is a cruel and incomprehensible poem containing violent images. The author Sylvia Plath used the sharp tone of her voice to contain the complex emotion that she held to her father and the violence she received. For example, the third part of the poem the author used “I used to pray to recover you” (772). In addition to indicating that she prayed that her father could return safely, it also implies that she hopes her husband will stop being unfaithful to her. Plath has Electra Complex because her husband and father have a similar personality, she transferred the feelings for her father to her husband. Also, the fourteenth part of the poem ‘The black telephone is off at the root, The voices just can’t worm through.’ It showed that Plath’s husband tied her with a telephone line and choked her neck. Plath treated herself as a victim like a Jew in the Auschwitz concentration camp by using the nightmare scene of the Holocaust as a metaphor for the relationship between the daughter, and the German father, which did indeed reveal the depth and significance of history. In the course of this poem, the author’s goal was to recover, to reunite with her dead father, trying to kill the memory of her father and end his violence over her.


All three of the literary works provided the same message of violence rooted in human nature, but they have differences. “The Lottery” and “We real cool” provide pure violence: commit the crime. Conversely, “Daddy” is more relying on the emotional level, and seeing the author’s real-life through character’s words. Furthermore, characters in “The Lottery” and “We Real Cool” contained similar collective socially disoriented activities. They are using group violence in different ways. The central idea of “Daddy” was more inclined about confession and the sensation of violence, it expressed the fear and pain of the author and the contradictory feelings for her father, physical abuse was just one of the elements in the poem. These three stories all used different ways to provide the theme; conversely, every literature elaborates the audience that violence will never disappear. It is rooted in the ancient primitive period and keeps happening in modern times. The victim of abuse cannot forget the experience of fear, which is what is in the three articles.

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Theme of the Loss of Innocence and Humanity in the Lottery and a Perfect Day for Bananafish

April 13, 2021 by Essay Writer

Firstly, the loss of innocence gives the authors’ personal perspectives on tradition. In “The Lottery”, Jackson uses the loss of innocence to criticize society’s blind following of old traditions. In the story, the village carries out their annual lottery tradition, where the unlucky winner is to be stoned. There is very little opposition to this tradition and one villager, Mr. Warner justifies it by saying “Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon…There’s always been a lottery”. Tessie Hutchinson is randomly selected by the lottery and the entire village prepares to stone her. Her son, Davy is handed pebbles to throw at his own mother. “The children had stones already. And someone gave little Davy Hutchinson few pebbles”. Just a few minutes earlier, he, along with the other children, were carelessly playing, and suddenly, he is given stones to throw at his mother. Although the story ends shortly after this takes place, presumably, this would have caused him to lose his innocence by realizing that he had contributed to the death of his own mother. Thus, this shows the loss of innocence caused by blindly following tradition.

Conversely, in “A Perfect Day for Bananafish”, Salinger uses the loss of innocence to criticize society’s tradition of war. In this story, Seymour has just returned from the war – presumably World War II – and likely has PTSD. After returning, others around him noticed that he is different than before. His wife’s mother says to his wife: “Well. In the first place, he said it was a perfect crime the Army released him for the hospital – my word of honor. He very definitely told your father there’s a chance – a very great change, he said that Seymour may completely lose control of himself. My word of honor”. Thus, the war has caused him to lose his innocence and see how cruel the world can be, thus criticizing the damages of war. Next, The loss of familial connections gives the authors’ personal perspectives on tradition.

In “A Perfect Day of for Bananafish”, Seymour returns home from the war to find his wife embroiled in the consumerism that has completely enveloped North American society. This culture of consumerism began after the conclusion of World War II, when there was an economic boom which sparked an interest in buying new products. Since this took place right after the war in 1948, many people like his wife feel they have to conform to society’s new ways. Her consumerist choices can be seen by her reading choices. Seymour brought his wife a poetry book back from Germany, but she refuses to read it since it is in German. Instead, she reads a woman’s magazine. While his wife is on the phone with her mother, she mentions how Seymour mockingly referred to her as “Miss Spiritual Tramp of 1948”, suggesting that she is materialistic, which shows that this was something that Seymore has noticed. In addition to this, his wife was busy doing little superficial things such as fixing her blouse, washing her comb and putting lacquer on her nails. These differences in worldviews and lifestyles lead to a strong disconnect between Seymour and his wife and according to Bogac, she cannot give the love that Seymour seeks.

Meanwhile, in “The Lottery”, Mrs. Hutchinson is a happy member of her community and family who is completely unconcerned about the lottery. However, once her name is drawn from the infamous black lottery box, the whole community and family blindly follows the tradition of stoning and turns on her. Even her own husband turns on her by making sure everyone can see the black dot on her slip. “Bill Hutchinson went over to his wife and forced the slip of paper out of her hand. It had a black spot on it, the black spot Mr. Summers had made the night before with the heavy pencil in the coal company office”. Shortly after, the villagers began the stoning, showing how quickly a community can turn on a person for the sake of tradition.

Finally, the loss of humanity is used to give the authors’ personal perspectives on tradition. In “The Lottery”, Tessie’s death is caused by the tradition of stoning the person with the black dot on their slip. This ritual is a long tradition for this particular town as well as other towns. Some of these other towns have decided to discontinue this tradition, however, in the village featured in the story, the villagers are quite resistant to change, especially Mr. Warner. When another villager mentions that other villages have ended their lottery tradition, Mr. Warner replies: “Nothing but trouble in that…Pack of young fools”. The insistence of villagers like Mr. Warner to continue this barbaric tradition, as well as the blind support of the people, led to the death of Mrs. Hutchinson. According to Suwardi, the villagers treat her as a scapegoat of a rebellion against the rules.

The loss of humanity is clearly seen in the community blindly following an outdated and inhumane tradition. In “A Perfect Day for Bananafish”, Seymour succumbs to his depression and disconnect from the world and commits suicide. His death appears quite sudden to the reader, which shows how serious his depression is. “He glanced at the girl lying asleep on one of the twin beds. Then he went over to one of the pieces of luggage, opened it, and from under a pile of shorts and undershirts he took out an Ortgies calibre 7.65 automatic. He released the magazine, looked at it, the reinserted it. He cocked the piece. Then he went over and sat down on the unoccupied twin bed, looked at the girl, aimed the pistol, and fired a bullet through his right temple”. Thus, the loss of society’s former traditions caused the loss of his life.

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The Story Depicts a Fictional Town in Modern America Where a Ceremony Known as the Lottery is Held Annually

April 13, 2021 by Essay Writer

Traditions are the leading source of every culture and developments in societies. It is what keeps the beliefs of traditions and customs alive. So they can be passed on from one generation to another. However, not all traditions begin with good intentions. Some traditions become so repetitive that people don’t know a single thing outside of them. Societies become so comfortable with traditions and rituals that they will take parts in events without asking a question about the ethics or moralities of the situation. Traditions and rituals are a large part of almost everyone in this world, but most of the people can’t hold on to traditions and rituals forever. In “The Lottery,” it is quite the opposite. They give significance to pointless rituals and tradition just because it has been going on for many generations, and nobody in the town wishes to mess with the customs because they believe something bad might happen to the town. “The Lottery” supports the idea of old traditions and ceremonies that many people in today’s generation do not approve with.

My parents also grew up with traditions and rituals that were passed on for a long time. They regularly talk about their past traditions and rituals that they had to respect and obey. My family has strong beliefs in traditions and values that have been going on for ages, and they hope that the next generation would follow it too. For example, my parents had an arranged wedding where they only received one opportunity to meet and chat with one another before their marriage. Young girls were not permitted to talk to young men before marriage as the family assumed that it would insult them in front of the societies. Falling in love with somebody in different ethnicity can also be a big issue that can be lead to being abandoned by your own family members and relatives. The above examples authenticate that old tradition and the ceremonies that have been passed on for many generations. However, once my parents got married they raised their voice against the injustice, and they decided that they are not going to follow the old traditions anymore.

“The Lottery” respects old tradition and customs which are being passed on for a long time. They have strong confidence in their traditions and customs despite not knowing what the primary importance of the ceremony. “The Lottery” has a stone death ceremony that has continued for a long time. The black box plays an essential role in the tradition despite the truth that the black box is severely broken. The damaged black box demonstrates the town’s history and it also passes on the cultures and formalities of the town. Mr. Summers, the town’s lottery official, “spoke frequently to the villagers about making a new box, but no one liked to upset even as much as tradition as was represented by the black box”. This illustrates that everyone in the village is blind to the idea of even messing with their sacred box. Everyone has grown old with the traditions, and they still find it discomforting in the idea of change. “Every year, after the lottery, Mr. Summers began talking about a new box, but every year the subject was allowed to fade off without anything’s being done”. Shirley Jackson uses the word choice ‘allowed,’ to represent the people’s response by ignorance. Every year the recommendation is made, and every year the proposal is allowed to be silent for the sake of their old tradition and customs.

There is a feeling among individuals that should the box be changed or should the lottery and its purpose. “Some places have already quit lotteries,” Mrs. Adams said. “Nothing but trouble in that’ Old Man Warner said stoutly. “pack of young fools”. This outlines the beliefs of many individuals. Old Man Warner is the most important character; Old Man Warner is an elderly person who is very traditional about the protection of this tradition. He holds it remarkably close to his heart, despite the evidence that this tradition is slowly and steadily falling apart in towns around him.

Shirley Jackson is trying to aware the reader about meaningless traditions that are followed in real life. she wanted to attract attention to the detail that not all of the traditions are good. Following tradition without knowing the ethics or moralities of the situation can be dangerous. In “The Lottery” no one had a clear idea of the origin of their tradition. Individuals in “The Lottery” blindly follow the tradition just because it has been going on for a long time. It looks like the tradition in “The Lottery” is used as an alibi to get away with a random murder every year.

Shirley Jackson uses a lottery to pick a random person for an important reason. The villager’s decision to kill a random person is very much related with some real-world situations. In the story when everyone finds out that Tessie chose the marked paper, everyone turns against her. Tessie becomes invisible to all her friends and family members. Tessie’s death in the story is an excellent example of how societies can persecute an innocent person. In today’s societies, people get persecuted for many reasons like their sex, race, and religion. They get persecuted just because they are from the wrong part of the country. Similarly, in “The Lottery” the villagers kill Tessie just because they think that is what they are supposed to do. several individuals in real life do the same thing without questioning themselves.

In conclusion, traditions have continued for a long time. It varies on the person to change their mindset and attitude toward traditions for their promising future. My family’s rituals hold strong importance in my parent’s life, however, they decided that they have to change traditions and customs for the betterment of their children’s future. Shirley Jackson tries to aware the readers about all the injustice that happens in today’s society because of different sex, race, and religion.

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Literary Analysis Based on “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson

April 13, 2021 by Essay Writer

Lottery is a game that we usually associate with some amusement parks, driving from roller coaster to another carousel or other occasional entertainment events with a joyous color. You can easily imagine the buzz of talks, the smell of good food or the excitement triggered by the vision of more attractions. In this canon there is a lottery and rewards associated with it. What can you win in Shirley Jackson’s Lottery?

Published just three years after the end of World War II, the story of terrible agreement, such as that which existed in Germany during the occupation. It is said that the basis of Jackson’s story was the deep-rooted fear of ongoing anti-Semitism. This story brings several important topics that should be discussed, including the dangers blindly following the tradition, mentality of the mafia and the reversal of our dynamics of our culture. It also shows as a hidden meaning of some objects, like the black box, stones or the big, black dot on a piece of paper.

There is always a kind of fear and distance towards small communities that have been limited for years. The vision of penetrating the structures of such small villages, isolated from the rest of the world of small towns, seems to be a risky undertaking, provoking complicated situations and uncontrolled events. Aliens among themselves. A guest for the next few generations before it is fully accepted. The eternal structures, systems and principles prevailing among such communities have something very primordial in them, something that allows you to think back to the times before all this really has really begun. In the end, civilization was built on the choice of man. On establishing the rules that a group of people should be guided by. On brotherhood, love, but also on the ability to get rid of who breaks from the structures, who does not fit into the only, good, established form.

It is easy to become an outcast in such groups. Unwanted and hated. It was enough to break away only a little, just a bit, for a moment to become unique and to take the form of a heretic, a weirdo, or a witch forever. And there is no place for people like this. The village has to get rid of them. Quick and easy. For example, using the annual lottery. The action takes place in a small-town reality. Everyone knows each other and knows everything about themselves. The most important thing, both the dominant and determining their behavior is tradition. An integral part of this tradition is the organization of lotteries. The lottery takes place every year on the same day, and people know the process so well that they only listen halfway to Mr. Summers’s instructions. Children are so excited that they collect stones. It seems that people have forgotten about other pumps and the circumstances that go on in this event, beyond the meaning of the box and stoning. As names are named, Mr. Adams notices Old Man Warner, the oldest man in the village, that other villages are abandoning the lottery tradition. Old Man Warner responds: “Listening to the young folks, nothing’s good enough for them.

Next thing you know, they’ll be wanting to go back to living in caves, nobody works anymore, live hat way for a while. Used to be a saying about ‘Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon.’ First thing you know, we’d all be eating stewed chickweed and acorns. There’s always been a lottery” (“The Lottery”, S. Jackson).

All members of the community must participate in it. Do they have to? They MUST, because the tradition orders so. However, watching the attitude of these people on the reports of abandoning the organization of lotteries in other cities. “– They do say, – Mr. Adams said to Old Man Warner, who stood next to him – that over in the north village they’re talking of giving up lottery. – Old Man Warner snorted. – Pack of crazy fools. – He said” (“The Lottery” S. Jackson), recognizing those people as fools, and the fact itself as a kind of backwardness. You can come to the conclusion that the residents want to participate in the lottery and it really is. Everyone without exception places themselves in the right place at the agreed time. The preparations are slowly starting and the excitement of the gathered community is growing. Everyone is waiting for what will happen.

No one knows the origins of this tradition and cannot explain its essence or purpose – the lottery in the village has always been and is to be. The rules of drawing are very simple. From the black box (which after many years is not black at all), each of the inhabitants draws one voice. A black dot is drawn on one of the scraps of paper. Nothing more. Nobody wants to draw a black dot, because everyone, even the smallest child knows what the black dot ends and what it means for such a person. And that’s it. Or so much. There is growing excitement in the air – who will lose fate this time?

This story reverses the dynamics of the family on its head. Before the lottery, families seem quite normal, standing together, wives are focused on talking about their husbands. When Mrs. Hutchinson finds out that her husband Bill has picked up a bad piece of paper, he immediately yells to Mr. Summers that he did not give Bill enough time to think about it, seemingly defending her husband. But when Bill is asked if there are any other households, Tessie tries to offer her eldest daughter Eva and husband Eva, Don. When Tessie discovers a black dot on her paper, even her children become part of the crowd. They are happy when they see that they have drawn empty papers and do not seem to be afraid of their mother’s fate. Someone even hands them small stones to throw. The burghers are governed by the mentality of mobs, which encourages them to participate willingly in the tradition of barbarism. Teenage boys carefully choose the worst, smooth stones at the beginning of history and seem to enjoy the comradeship that the lottery brings. At the end, when Tessie is chosen as the “winner”, the women she talked to just to admire the stones begin to throw themselves at her. Mrs. Dunbar is upset that she cannot keep up with the crowd, old man Warner calls to the crowd, and even Tessie’s children stone their own mother.

The black box used every year in the lottery represents the tradition of the villagers. Although it is getting worse, and Mr. Summers discusses buying a new one every year, the villagers do not like to lose their tradition. Ironically, when it is not used, it sits like a dust collector in Mr. Graves’ barn or Mr. Martin’s grocery store. It is also a symbol of fear. Residents of the village make sure that they stay away from him. They know that there are sheets of paper in the box that will decide their fate. It makes him a symbol of power over life and death.

Children are trying to collect the most perfect murder weapon, stones. They choose the ones that are the worst and the lightest. They place them in piles and keep them as treasures. Stones give them power over life and death of someone who is going to “win” the lottery. Stones are a source of fear, as well as strength and camaraderie, both for the person who has been chosen and for those who want to be part of the mafia that develops from tradition. The transition from this very structured drawing of the lottery to the stone paper is also a terrifying change of the village from civilization to total brutality in important moments.

A black dot means approaching death. For Tessie, the dot means she has been chosen to die in this twisted holiday event. The dot leads to the end of “honesty”, which she found in all other lotteries with which she was previously involved. It also means that the closest to her heart turns away from her and joins the crowd to kill her.

“The Lottery” is a story of a community that is blind in tradition, following the traces of its ancestors, regardless of moral or civilizational changes. Rooted in a cruel past, they continue the predetermined draw, using the relics of death from the given years. It frightens the popularity of this draw, haste in successive, mechanically performed actions. Because everyone wants to get back to their tasks, home, have it behind them. A great meeting of the locals, where everyone laughs, and at the same time keeps track of even the smallest movement. Terror comes from waiting for the verdict and from his dispassionate execution. Family ties are no longer important. Friendships and love do not count. Everyone is equal. Everyone can momentarily become their biggest enemy. And the choice can fall on everyone. The choice is completely accidental, targeted in no one’s way. At least it seems so. At least they want to believe it. In the end it was supposed to be like this. It is every year. It has always been like this. Because the lottery has no beginning and there is no end. It continues, even outside the hot June day, outside the assembly square, buried in the subconsciousness of the inhabitants, their minds and hearts.

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Symbolism as a Mean for Deeper Understanding of the Novel the Lottery

April 13, 2021 by Essay Writer

“The Lottery” Symbolism Analysis

“The Lottery”, written by Shirley Jackson, is filled with symbols. The symbols in the story make the readers aware of impending events and to communicate deeper messages. The Lottery is a story about a small town using an annual ritual of human sacrifice. The townspeople do not remember why the lottery ritual exists but out of tradition, it is accepted as common practice. Jackson uses symbolism to communicate deeper messages about the town and its people through her use of the character names, lottery process, and stones.

Jackson uses symbolic character names to subtly provide clues that this story is not as it appears and to enhance the storyline. The “names of the characters are laden with significance” (Yarmove 243), as demonstrated by the following examples. Joe Summers, the officiator of the lottery, is symbolic for the season of the lottery. The lottery is conducted in the summer “on June 27th, “the day is clear and sunny and the flowers were blossoming profusely” (Jackson 236). Mr. Summers’ name represents the lottery because he is the leader and his name reminds the villagers the time of year the lottery occurs. Harry Graves’ name implies death. Mr. Graves’ name signals a sinister purpose because his name “sounds a somber, forewarning note of what will happen to Tessie” (Yarmove 243). Mr. Graves’ name warns that someone will die. The first four letters of Old Man Warner’s last name, spells warn. Mr. Warner, the “oldest man in town” (Jackson 237), is in the best positon to warn the villagers “about the primordial function of the lottery, which is to ensure fertility” (Yarmove 243). Warner represents the traditional history of the lottery and is the primary supporter that the lottery should remain. The name Delacroix has a composite symbolic meaning. In Spanish, de means from and la means the; and, in French, croix means cross. Together, the symbolic meaning for Delacroix is from the cross, which suggests a crucifixion. “Mrs. Delacroix’s name alludes to the pseudo-crucifixion of Tessie” (Yarmove 243) as a human sacrifice. The cross symbolic meaning infers there will be some sort of human sacrifice like the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross. The use of names foreshadows the upcoming events and reinforce that there are other meanings for the readers to consider.

The symbols used in the lottery process provide the most valuable clues. “Men control the lottery” (Oehlschlaeger (259) because they perform the important roles in the lottery process. To further demonstrate superiority of the men, the little boys collect the stones while the little girls watch. When assistance is needed, Mr. Summers “inquires whether any of the ‘fellows’ might want to give a hand” (Oehlschlaeger (259), excluding the women. The male dominance is portrayed throughout the story. Because Clyde Dunbar has a broken leg and did not attend the lottery, Mr. Summers wants to know who is representing the Dunbar family in the selection process. He asked Janey Dunbar, his wife; and, when she replies that she would select, Mr. Summers inquires, “don’t you have a grown boy to do this for you” (Jackson 239) even though he knew that she did not. This inquiry is stronger evidence that men are preferred to women even during the black box drawing. The black box is the most ominous symbol in the lottery process as it creates a dismal image of doom. The black box, symbolically, represents fear, evil and death. The most important clue that the black box represents fear, evil and death is when the Hutchinson’s family selects the paper with the black dot. Tessie Hutchinson strongly protests the selection made by her husband, “you didn’t give him time enough to take any paper he wanted” (Jackson 241). Her protests included insisting that her daughter and son-in-law are included in her family drawing to decrease her chance of selecting the paper with the black dot. The paper containing the black dot within the black box means death to the holder. Nervousness among the villagers is exhibited throughout the story and even more during the selection process. The townspeople are “subdued, even nervous” (Yarmove 244) as they wait to learn who is the unlucky lottery winner. The “villagers kept their distance” (Jackson 237), from the black box, which indicates that the black box is the beginning of the end for someone. The black box with the black dotted paper are critical to understanding the message of doom. The symbols surrounding the lottery process offer the strongest messages that the lottery is unconventional.

The symbolic stones are evasive because there is not any initial indication that they will be used for violence. The boys stocking piles of stones and stuffing their pockets with the stones indicate play. The statement, “Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pocket full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example” (Jackson 236), does not suggest any evil acts. The vision of boys collecting stones suggests boyish summer activities. Using the stones for violent purposes becomes clear as the story unfolds. In review of this statement, “they stood together, away from the pile of stones” (Jackson 236) suggest that villagers’ avoidance indicate their fear of what the stones represent. The emphasis on the type of stones provides a clue as to their intent because the boys selected the “smoothest and roundest stones” (Jackson 236). The emphasis placed on the types of stones suggest that these stones make it easier to hit the intended target. Even though many of the traditions associated with the lottery are forgotten, “they still remembered to use stones” (Jackson 242), speak to the villagers’ violent nature. They eliminate and/or forget much of the ritual activities but the villagers remember the stones because this is critical to their violent nature. Mrs. Delacroix who cheerfully embraces Mrs. Hutchinson and appears to be a friend, “selected a stone so large that she had to pick it up with both hands” (Jackson 242) is an extreme example of a person’s propensity for violence and lack of compassion. The townspeople became alive and all are fully engaged in the stoning of Tessie to the point that nothing else matters. The violence is enjoyed by all from the oldest Old Man Warner to the youngest villagers, as the “children had stones” (Jackson 242). So, without any consideration to emotional impact, Old Man Warner supports the lottery because he states that “the individual must be sacrificed to maintain community structure” (Oehlschlaeger (260). The villagers believe that stoning is necessary because they enjoy violence and it provides a method of guilt free murder.

“The Lottery” effectively uses symbolism to capture the central theme of the story. These symbols engage the readers so that the obvious objects and characters are not taken at face value. The readers are encouraged to look for deeper meanings to understand the story. Jackson’s symbolic use of the character names, the lottery process, and the stones gently guides the readers to expect the unexpected.

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The Danger of Ritual and Tradition in “The Hunger Games” and “The Lottery”

November 3, 2020 by Essay Writer

“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins and the short story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson both illustrate the dangers of blindly following ritualized practices and traditions. The stories involve the use of an institutionalized drawing system, one which is employed to blindly choose a sacrifice for the respective societies. “The Hunger Games” uses a system entitled, the reaping, which is used to select two adolescents to participate in a gladiatorial battle to the death. Similarly, in “The Lottery,” the lottery system enables a town to single out a sacrifice that is subsequently stoned. Both systems utilize a combination of mood and dialogue, references to the chaos prior to the order, and the characterization of authority figures to portray the outcomes of communities thoughtlessly submitting to the practices of tradition. The results of these systems are that individual members of that community are made to bear the consequences.

In both narratives, the societies treat the lottery and the reaping with an attitude of deference and veiled apprehension. The mood surrounding these events demonstrates the communities’ feelings of anxiety toward the ceremonies, despite apparent unwillingness to change them. In each story, the writers establish a foreboding mood through the demeanor and dialogue of the characters. Characters joke before the events, but gradually become more solemn as the drawings get closer. In“The Hunger Games,” Gale and Katniss laugh while they mimic the ceremony and its leader Effie Trinket. However, Katniss notes that they only joke “because the alternative is to be scared out of your wits” (6).

Correspondingly, the townspeople in “The Lottery” smile and make small talk, “speaking of planting and rain” (1). This nervous attitude becomes increasingly solemn as the ceremonies approach, and is meant to serve as a veil for the underlying feelings of fear towards what the reaping and lottery represent, the idea of impending sacrifice and death for the people selected. In both stories, the reactions of the characters toward the formalities of the services indicate that they are overly familiar with the rites of the traditions. In “The Lottery,” the townspeople are complacent during the reading of the directions, “had done it so many times that they only half listened” (3). The repetition of this ensures that they have internalized its rituals. In“The Hunger Games,” the mayor also reads “the same story every year” at the reaping, and all of the members of the community are familiar with the history of the Games and the back story, as well as the rituals of the ceremony itself. In the stories, characters all share a similar feeling of dread toward the rituals, but the events are so institutionalized that no one attempts to question them.

In each story, authority figures utilize references to past chaos to emphasize why rituals are important in maintaining order and preventing backsliding. Old Man Weaver functions as this figure for the townspeople in “The Lottery,” and he notes that if institutions like the lottery were not in place, they might revert to an uncivilized lifestyle, and return to “living in caves” (4). His justification is that “there has always been a lottery,” and he relies solely on the foundations of the importance of tradition to support his claims (4). Likewise, in “The Hunger Games,” the mayor alludes to the “Dark Days” and the disorder of the uprisings before the implementation of the Hunger Games (16). The references to past chaos serve to underscore how figures of authority employ fear to manipulate a collective into blindly following traditions rather than thinking for themselves.

In both stories, the characterization of authority figures connected to the rituals demonstrates how the societies have come to accept the control that these figures and corresponding institutions have over them. In “The Lottery,” the authority figure is Mr. Summers, who serves as a spokesperson for the function. Jackson describes him as jovial, but makes it clear that the townspeople feel sorry for him, because his wife is a nag. Despite this, Mr. Summers also “seemed very proper and important” as he fulfills his duty, which illustrates how the town views the importance of the lottery. This significance is attached to Mr. Summers, who gains authority through association (2). Similarly, in“The Hunger Games,” Effie Trinket, the Capitol’s liaison to the reaping, is “bright and bubbly” in a way that makes her seem ridiculous (17). However, her involvement in the reaping ensures that the community will not question her role in the ceremony or her status. In the stories, the characters who are chosen in the drawings, Mrs. Hutchinson in “The Lottery” and Katniss and Peeta in“The Hunger Games,” fall outside of the realm of authority, and as a result, their communities blindly accept their fates, and their almost definite death sentences.

In “The Lottery” and“The Hunger Games” Shirley Jackson and Suzanne Collins, respectively, use mood and dialogue, references to disorder before the ceremonies, and the characterization of authority figures to illustrate the consequences of communities blindly submitting to rituals. In both narratives, individual members of these societies are forced to endure the horrific outcomes of the lottery and the reaping, because their societies thoughtlessly accept the importance of tradition, and their own unwillingness and powerlessness in instigating change.

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Symbolism in The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

November 3, 2020 by Essay Writer

Shirley Jackson’s, “The Lottery,” is saturated with the use of symbolism. Symbolism is practiced to represent something else. It helps construct significance and feeling in a story by causing the reader to make connections between the piece of literature and the real world. Sometimes it can be very difficult to find the fundamental connotation that the author is trying to get across. Symbols can be very unmistakable or cruelly conceptual which makes the audience stretch the horizon of their minds. Each icon that is identified in, “The Lottery,” can be interpreted as standing for several different things. Correspondingly, there are at least three different categories of symbols used by Jackson in this story alone.

Taking the lottery itself as an illustration, there is a minimum two distinctive viewpoints that can be represented by this one object. First, it could carry the notion of governmental corruption. Inside this story, the lottery is articulately premeditated. There are guidelines and expectancies that must be obeyed at all cost, just like we uncover in the government currently. Each day, week, and year Americans are forced to complete, vote for, and undertake duties that go against their core beliefs for the sake of the government and its officials. Afraid to push against the status quo, more and more laws and regulations are being formed that are, in turn, corrupting the nation. This is correlated to the theme of being forced into doing heinous things because higher authorities make it to where you are required to implement them. Immediately this could be taken into relation with the film, The Purge. Mass anarchy is spread over the entire country because crime was made legal. Who said this was okay? Only the government executives but they were offered protection just like Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves were in the story. They had power within their community and did not have to partake; they were granted immunity! Not one person, despite their phony façade, would elect to participate in the lottery under normal circumstances. However, because these people were involuntarily pushed into supporting this occasion, they formed a mental barrier that primed themselves into considering it acceptable and ordinary to exercise this manner of torment. The higher ups were looking out for their best interests, right? They had been brainwashed! It became clear that one could break this barricade down by placing one in danger. When Mrs. Hutchinson was confronted with hazard, she immediately began to blame other people, and she renounced the lottery all together. Her husband’s response was for her to be silent. He continued to go through the motions because it was what had to be done. The administration told him he had to, so he, without hesitance, did his part even when the going got rough.

The next item that could be traced back to being symbolized by the lottery is community traditions. Individuals that inhabit this village become unseeing to the wicked ritual that is taking place right under their noses. When the annual date of the lottery rolls around, the people numbly take part because of what is expected of them and what they are used to. No reaction, contemplation, emotion, etc. is exhibited by these people. They modestly pause their day-to-day lives to heed the lottery’s wrath. Do they not see the evil in their actions? How could one become accustomed to such a horrible thing? One would reason that this would be customary to only this settlement; however, the lottery is happening in villages all around them. Some even take up for the ceremonious custom by testifying that nearby places, which have exonerated the incident, were imprudent to do so. Eventually, one man justifies the event by stating, “There’s always been a lottery.” Just because something has always taken place makes it right? Why will someone not stand up for what they know is right? Over time is wrong made right? “Everyone is doing it, so we cannot be left out or seem different,” one can almost hear them whisper. It is what is familiar; it is what has come to be anticipated. One is required to weigh the morals of the traditions that we follow whilst analyzing Jackson’s work. Linked to this notion is the theme of blindly following tradition. Did the people even know why they were taking part in the lottery? There was even a reference made by a character that led you to believe that they did not know where, when, or why the lottery had begun. Still, no-one called this suspicious act into question! There is no motivation that the lottery should even be still in practice. They continue to have it because they have always had it. It seems that the lottery forms the foundations of this town. This becomes their justification for their actions. They do not want to be in the wrong, so they do not question motives and blame it all on tradition.

These two views of symbolism are both connected to the use of symbolism from an object in the story. Many more times, Jackson uses objects to connect themes and express feelings about her story’s contexts. Matters like this include things such as the black box. These artifacts from the story are meticulously established to contribute to the themes of the story. They all are united to a section in the world that makes the reader form conclusions, questions, and associations. The black box epitomizes corrupt laws of the land and the misrepresented relationship the people have with them. The color brings a threatening mood to the reader. Upon evaluation of the situation, one can build the realization that the town’s destiny lies in the box. The slips of paper that reveal the fate of someone resides in it. If the lottery is the government, then the box has to be the decrees. It is a rule of the lottery, and a tradition of it, that this box is used. Just how the government puts regulations in place to meet their agendas, the box is used to carry out the agenda of the lottery. Without the box, a controlling, regulated sense would not be recognized. If the lottery is the traditions, then the box would denote the values of the people. It is mentioned within the story that the box was becoming withered. With each year that passes, the box has more and more splinters. This is connected to the fact that people’s values were becoming “splintered” for the sake of the lottery. Every year that goes by, the people are allowing more perversion to enter into their lives.

Not only can you use objects as symbols, but you can also effectively contribute to a piece by using characters as similar tools. The characters of the Delacroix family, for example, denote the church. Their name, literally, means of the cross which brings thoughts of religion into the mix of Jackson’s writing. Appearing over and over again, this family is a friend to all, so it seems. They are kneaded together with the rest of the community, yet they follow the traditions and customs made by the officials even when their friends are put at risk. “Are they true friends?” one might ask. This leads to the connection that the church can be imaged as a positivity occupied haven for the community but can become damaging due to external immorality. In this case, the corruption was disguised as a tradition. Ironic, owed to the element that traditions are usually blameless undertakings that convey joyfulness to all who experience them.

Possibly, you could find the representation of death in Mr. Graves. He is the leader of the extravagant event. He does not play a significant part in this story, but like true death, presides over people, lurking in the background seeking whom he may devour. Within his town he has power as the postmaster, and he uses that power to give authority to Mr. Summers to conduct the lottery. This relates to the theme that society is pushing their sins onto one who bears all the consequences. Society purges their wrongdoings away from themselves and always looks for a fall-guy. In the story, this ends up being Tessie Hutchinson. She ultimately meets her doom. Mr. Graves could be considered the provider of this bad outcome because without him, the proper authority would not be given. Without him, there would be no death!

As hard as it might be to believe, there is actually one more type of symbol that can be identified; numbers can be used to signify a deeper meaning. The stool that the black box of tragedy is placed upon has three legs. Since the box is a depiction of demise and gloom, the three legs could be each a portion from the Christian theory of the Divine Trinity. This concept holds true to being three in one. This can be understood as the crown of the stool that bonds each leg together. Once more, Jackson uses her symbolism as a key to religion. One leg would be seen as the Father while the other two trailed as the Son and Holy Ghost. If a believer of God, one would know that the Trinity embraces all the supremacy of the earth. Everything rests in its hands. This can be reestablished as how the stool holds up the vital component to the lottery, the black box.

Additionally, luck is transported to attention when Old Man Warner voices his age. He has made it to the great age of seventy-seven. Most individuals comprehend that good fortune is coupled with the number seven. Throughout American civilization and tradition, seven is supplementary with being the luckiest of all numbers. Due to this detail, one can frequently locate sevens pictured with four leaved clovers around St. Patrick’s Day. In the story, there is not only one seven declared but two. This instantly doubles the extent of blessing that Old Man Warner has. Plus, he enthusiastically confesses to having the luck of the draw. The odds have been in his favor throughout the years. He has been able to grow to a ripe age without ever being effected by the lottery. This emphasizes what kind of luck this man possesses. He has been fortunate to not reap the penalties of such a ghastly occurrence.

Optimistically speaking, one is now readily capable to pick out the different styles of symbols that can be unmasked during a story. Likewise, be vulnerable to various alternatives of what each thing could represent. As long as the verification in the text can back up opinions, no one should be anxious to voice what they sincerely sense is being indicated. Jackson used objects, characters, and numbers to initiate internal reactions and shape a deeper gist for her story. Each one enhances meaningful weight to the themes exhibited in her labor, and she uses her symbols to unveil religious, governmental, and community issues present within society. No one distinguishes what might have been the motivating trigger for Jackson to write this piece, but it is easy to perceive that she aspired to bring the tribulations that she suffered throughout her life to light and make them relevant to the eyes and hearts of her readers everywhere.

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Social Stratifications and Racial Presumptions in “After You, My Dear Alphonse”

November 3, 2020 by Essay Writer

“Racism is not about how you look, it’s about how people assign meaning to how you look.” (Robin Kelley, an American History Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles)

People tend to judge each other based on social constructions that society has subconsciously implemented. Race itself is merely a concept, yet individuals in a society use stereotypes to isolate each other negatively based on the singular discrepancy of skin pigment. Racism has stemmed from generational long discriminations of others’ physical differences, until we as a society are able take away the labels we implement onto these visual barriers, prejudice will remain a problem. In the short story “After You, My Dear Alphonse” by Shirley Jackson, readers follow the story of a mother meeting her son’s friend for the first time. Upon finding that the boy’s ethnicity is African-American, the mother begins to negatively assume all the aspects of his life. She goes on to inquire about the child’s own personal lifestyle, displaying extreme condescensions that have negatively undermined outcomes for her own self betterment. Through Mrs.Wilson’s interrogation of Boyd, the author discusses racial conceptualizations and reveals presumed cultural distinctiveness in racial groups create barriers between positive communication.

Racism is not always violent, yet its subtle actional forms are just as distinctive. Apparent from when Mrs. Wilson first met Boyd, a sense of prudence was evident in her mannerisms. She would ask question after question about his own personal lifestyle, seeming to already have a negatively spiraled theory about what his life was like in her head. Jackson writes, “She [Mrs.Wilson] hesitated. ‘Does he [Boyd’s father]… work?’ ‘Sure.’ Johnny said. ‘Boyd’s father works in a factory.’ ‘There you see?’ Mrs.Wilson said. ‘And he certainly has to be strong to do that-all that lifting and carrying at a factory. ‘Boyd’s father doesn’t have to,’ Johnny said. ‘He’s a foreman.’ Mrs.Wilson felt defeated.” Mrs.Wilson had preliminary presumptions that Boyd’s father was unemployed, due to the historically wrong stereotype of black identifying people to be “inherently lazy”. Upon learning that his father does indeed work, and in fact that he works in the factory business, she then goes on to assume that his father is in the manual labor force. This, combined with her suggestively racist remarks about whether he was employed or not, indicated her beliefs that his family was in the lower class. Yet, Boyd states that his father had more of of a supervising job, rather than one of manual labor. In result, Mrs.Wilson takes this new information intimidating to herself personally. In an attempt to check off the low class stereotypes for his own family, she then proceeds to ask more rounds of wrongly discriminative questions about the way that he lives his life. As each question and answer goes by, Mrs.Wilson acquires a petty bitterness to the way that she talks to Boyd. The act of asking such closed minded questions about Boyd’s personal life signifies that racial discriminations are founded by underlying cruelness of character.

Charitable actions towards those of a lower class have givers with alternative motives. Mrs.Wilson displays extreme dissatisfaction when learning that Boyd’s family is as well-off financially as her own. Annoyed that she cannot show support for the boy money-wise, she offers him secondhand clothing, with the presumption that while his father may work, Boyd didn’t have all the clothes he needed. Boyd then, respectively, puts down the offer, stating that he has everything he needs, and is able to buy all else that he wants. Mrs.Wilson’s personality then turns sour with distaste. Jackson writes, “Mrs.Wilson lifted the plate of gingerbread off the table as Boyd was about to take another piece. ‘There are many little boys like you, Boyd, who would be very grateful for the clothes someone was nice enough to give them.’ … ‘Don’t think I’m angry, Boyd. I’m just disappointed in you, that’s all. Now let’s not say anymore about it.’” Mrs.Wilson’s change of demeanor turned frustrated, into a form of irritation against Boyd. Ostensibly, she tells Boyd that he has not angered him, yet this is exactly what he has done. Mrs.Wilson was looking to be the charitable upperclass woman to Boyd; often times, xenophobic, or racist people, believe that anything they do for another racially diverse person will positively benefit the individual, regardless if this is true or not. She wanted the boy to be that character, she deeply wanted to make herself feel superior to him by aiding him through his “apparent struggle in life”. Mrs.Wilson’s false charity highlights the racist stratifications that are placed towards those who are labeled as racially inferior.

Insinuations of racist beliefs cause harmful biases towards different racial groups than of personal experience. Throughout Mrs.Wilson’s interaction with the two boys, it is evident how racially sectarianism her beliefs are. Not only is does she feel personally obligated to make herself seem notably higher in social class and privilege, but she feels the necessity to be a charitable leader towards Boyd. In fact, the first clear sign of her racist beliefs were noticeable in the first interaction where she was in the visual vicinity of Boyd, even before their verbal exchanges. Jackson writes, “As she [Mrs.Wilson] turned to show Boyd where to sit, she saw he was a Negro boy … Mrs.Wilson turned to Johnny. ‘Johnny,’ she said, ‘what did you make Boyd do?” The short story’s sequence of events, directly after, begins to fall down a hole of contemptuousness. Mrs.Wilson is clearly one of racist beliefs. Her dislike of Boyd grows stronger and stronger, each question of hers that is answered adds to the fundamental grudge that she is building up. Soon every question she seemingly asks has multiple negative connotations behind them. The act of housing such strong racist beliefs illustrates how implicit racism is internecine.

Due to Mrs.Wilson’s interrogative behavior towards Boyd, the author discusses ethnical discrimination and reveals that atypical conceptions of what is normal in different ethnic groups creates impediments towards creating emotional connections. Through Mrs.Wilson’s constant racist remarks, one can establish that racial inequalities are due to a person’s wrongful perception of themselves being naturally superior to another individual.

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Human Morality in The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

November 3, 2020 by Essay Writer

Humanity is best known for confusing one thing for another and doing things in the name of following cultural guidelines or social expectations. But, is that action justified? Is it even a rational mindset? Most times, such behavior is very harmful and dangerous to individuals. That is why it is important to analyze how, if, and why that behavior is acceptable or unacceptable. In the short story The Lottery Shirley Jackson uses imagery, irony, and symbolism in order to assert that human morality is heavily dependent on the desires and expectations of the individual and ultimately the society in which the individual is a part of.

Jackson starts the narrative as any narrative should be started, by introducing the setting. This is helpful in the lines of developing the themes due to the background that the setting provides us with. In the beginning of the short story she is setting up the layout for the Lottery and she informs us that “The children assembled first, of course,” (Jackson). This allows the audience both insight to the attitudes toward the lottery and the process of the lottery, itself. The attitudes shown through the children can be seen as eager or even excited, considering that “Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones,” (Jackson). Even if the villagers want to deny it, they are eager and excited to get the lottery started. What is even worse about it is that it obviously starts at a young age.

Not only does setting play a role in developing this theme, but so does irony. There are several examples of irony throughout the text that show the unpredictable nature of human behavior. At the beginning, as everybody assembled, there were some signs of some affection and caring for one another. There was even some hesitance, later, when Steve Adams began talking about how other villages had stopped doing the lottery. However, later, he becomes more than supportive of the ritual when Tessie Hutchinson became the set target of the violence and “[he] was in the front of the crowd,”(Jackson). This is an ironic twist and further proves the villagers to be cruel, because Adams discussed the idea of quitting the lottery so long as he was at risk. As soon as the air has been cleared, and somebody else turns out to be the victim, he seems to be all to excited about ending the ceremony and going out on a strong note. Other people pick up on his excitement as well, “Such heavy-handed ironic twists imply that there is no such thing as communal love, or even sympathy, in the human heart,” (Coulthard). Which happens to be a pretty accurate inference. Also, Tessie Hutchinson is responsible for an ironic twist of her own. She, however, starts the story with a negligence toward the people. She seems as if she does not really care what happens either way. Nonetheless, when the tables are turned she seems as if she changes her attitude completely screaming “‘It isn’t fair, it isn’t right,’” (Jackson) just before they were upon her. This ironic twist serves to prove, once again, how people’s mindset can be affected under pressure.

Symbolism also plays a huge role, as the symbols throughout the story provide a form of mainstay for the theme. There are several symbols throughout The Lottery, one of the most prominent being the stones. We are first introduced to the stones in the beginning of the text as the people begin to assemble. After that, the stones re-occur, making them symbols. One of the first instances of the stones is in the beginning when the children are gathering and

“Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones; Bobby and Harry Jones and Dickie Delacroix—the villagers pronounced this name ‘Dellacroy’—eventually made a great pile of stones in one corner of the square and guarded it against the raids of the other boys,” (Jackson).

The stones are unadvanced weapons or tools, making them primitive. Even more so, they are given to children, and the children are eager to gather them as well, symbolizing human instinct for violence. Especially if the children are aware of the fact that the stones they have chosen are “The ones best for accurate throwing,” (Coulthard) as Coulthard implies. If they have an extension of knowledge on the subject, then there is a reason they have it. Coincidentally, there is another example of symbolism, the marked slip of paper. Jackson best describes it as “[Having] a black spot on it, the black spot Mr. Summers had made the night before with the heavy pencil in the coal company office.” (Jackson). This little paper says a lot more about the story than people infer. The paper is a symbol that is representative of how easy it is for the people to literally take somebody else’s life into their own hands. Also, if the people wished to end the tradition they easily could, however they allow the violence to continue.

Primarily, Jackson conveys a theme that not many people pick up on. Jackson’s spin on the concept of morality and humanity is a dark one, as she makes implications that people will do what is expected of them, so long as it does not cause them any harm. Jackson makes the implication that people are selfish and that society is cruel with the help of a few literary devices.

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Tessie’s Revenge in The Lottery, a Short Story by Shirley Jackson

November 3, 2020 by Essay Writer

The crowd of villagers threw the stones at Tessie with all their might. “NO! Stop it! Please!” Tessie shouted with tears in her eyes. ”What’s happening?” Little Davy asked Mr. Hutchinson. With tears falling down his face, Mr.Hutchinson said “Oh, it’s nothing you have to worry about. Just stand behind me until this is over.” Bill Jr and Nancy began throwing the stones ever so softly because they could not have concentrated knowing what is happening to their mother.

“Come on! Throw them harder!” Old Man Warner shouted above the crowd. “No wonder the other towns quit the lottery,” Nancy said as she covered her face, not letting anyone see the tears in her eyes. Bill Jr and Nancy turned away from the crowd, not being able to look at the terrifying crowd. “Why didn’t anyone stop this? They all know it’s wrong, but they still choose to kill an innocent person every single year!” Bill Hutchinson shouted at the crowd, but no one paid any attention, as they were all too busy throwing stones. Soon enough, the torture was over. It seemed like hours and hours to the Hutchinsons. They couldn’t bear looking at the remains of Tessie Hutchinson.

They gathered around Tessie, checking if she was still alive, which is very rare in some cases the years before. “She’s gone” Bill Hutchinson whispered. He carried Tessie in his arms towards the cemetery. It was a very far walk across the town, but it was worth it, in honor of Tessie. The children watched how their very own father, Bill Hutchinson began to bury their mother. Bill dug and dug with all his might, tears blurring his vision, but he kept going as fast as he could. As soon as Bill finished, he and the children began walking back towards their home.

Meanwhile, a couple of minutes after Bill and the kids went home, Tessie’s hand struck out of the dirt. Old Man Warner, he was walking by, saw Tessie’s hand and ran as fast as he could, even though it wasn’t that fast due to his old age. He pulled her out of the dirt, as she gasped for air. He took her back to his house to clean herself up. They began walking, Old Man Warner wrapped Tessie’s arm around his shoulder and supported her while they were walking. “I thought you were dead. What happened? Why were you buried?” He asked her. Wincing after each step, she managed to say, “ I do not remember. I passed out during the ritual.”

Old Man Warner felt guilty after throwing stones at her, so he tried his very best to get everything she needed, but she will never forget what he did or forgive him. At Old Man Warner’s house, she took a bath while Old Man Warner started to set up dinner. When Tessie was done, she snuck out of the bathroom as quiet as a mouse. She went into the kitchen and grabbed a knife. She then crept up behind Old Man Warner and got her revenge. She left a letter on his body and ran towards the forest and was never seen again.

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