Structure and Symbolism in the Lottery Essay

In The Lottery, Shirley Jackson relates an uncommon story worrying an old ritual within the setting of a little American town. Checking out for the very first time, the majority of readers will be enormously shocked by the ending: with an idyllic town environment settled at the beginning part, the harsh and outrageous ending comes all too all of a sudden and out of expectation.

Nevertheless, a cautious evaluation can reveal that the shock is not unexpected at all; The Lotto really merges 2 stories and themes into one imaginary automobile: the obvious, quickly found story appears in the literal facts, producing an immediate, psychological effect; whereas in the 2nd story which lies below the very first, the author’s mindful structure and constant symbolism work to establish slowly the shock and to provide an extensive theme: Man is not at the grace of savagery; he is the victim of unexamined and imperishable traditions which he may easily alter if he just realizes their ramifications.

The symbolic overtones which establish in the second story can be noticed as early as the 4th word of the story when the date of June 27th notifies us to the season of summer solstice with all its overtones of ancient routine (The ancient routines were traditionally held in summer solstice so regarding request harvest of fall.

) Thoroughly the scene is set—“The morning of June 27th was clear and warm, with the fresh warmth of the full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the turf was richly green.” The kids freshly devoid of school play boisterously, rolling in the dust.

But, ominously, Bobby Martin has already packed his pockets with stones and Harry Jones and Dickie Delacroix follow his example, eventually making a great stack of stones in the corner which they protect from the raids of other kids. Thus by the end of just 2 paragraphs, the author has thoroughly indicated the season, time of ancient ritual of sacrifice; and the stones, most ancient of sacrifice weapons. Then “The guys started to gather”, talking of the planting and rain—the central issues of the ancient propitiatory rites, and tractors and taxes—those modern additions to the issues of male.

The guys are quieter, more conscious, and the patriarchal order, the earliest social group of man, is quickly evidenced as women join their partner and call their kids to them. When Bobby Martin attempts to leaves the group runs laughing to the stones, he is greatly rebuffed by his major dad, who knows that this is no game. All these descriptions clearly reveal that this is more than the surface “idyllic” small town life, the symbolic undercurrents prepare us to be drawn step by step towards the ultimate, where whatever will fuse.

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