Free «Symbolism and Irony in “The Lottery” Assay» Essay Sample

Symbolism and Irony in “The Lottery” Assay

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“The lottery” is a short story that was written by the American writer Shirley Jackson. It is considered as one of the most popular and famous short stories among the American population and literature. Today, it is a classical short story that included to the middle and high school for studying. This story was adapted for television, radio, ballet, movie and even opera. The writer Shirley Jackson used several literature methods in order to reveal the main idea of the story. The strongest marked tools that were used by the Author in “The Lottery” are irony and symbolism. 

Jackson used in the story such literature devices as irony and symbolism in order to illustrate the hidden theme that is not clear in the beginning of her story. The use of irony we could see almost through each paragraph. The title of this short story is already the irony. The story has a positive name, but the reader in the end of it faces the tragic side of the story name. The lottery suggests winning a prize for its winner, but in the story the winner gets death.  The other important ironic moment is when villagers were talking about nearby villages that wanted to stop the annual lottery tradition. One character of the story said that “Next thing you know, they’ll be wanting to go back to living in caves”. It is ironic as the action of nearby villagers compares to the barbaric action like kill the people by the stones. The other point to keep in mind is that the whole story is represented in cheerful and excitement manner. On the other hand, it is completely opposite.  People show that they are happy to participate in the lottery, while hiding their real faces and fear to change something.  

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There are three things that represent the symbolism of the story. These are the stones, the black box and the pieces of paper. The method that the author has chosen for execution was not accident. The symbolism expresses itself that this method is the oldest form of execution and was used in the Bible. It represented the symbol of the innocence of the people who were executed. We can consider the winner of the lottery as an innocent victim. It is also important to understand that this method does not stand out the particular person as an executor. It tells that the executor is a crowd that acts together. The author blamed not one person, but the society.    

The other important symbolic item is a “black box” that was used for many years in the lottery. It represents the unknown result of the story that reveals for the reader only in the end of the story. The black color also is associated with the death. The black box also represents the coffin, as one character of the story is going to die. The moment when the pieces of paper dropped on the ground and wind lifted them off represents the human lives. This moment compare the pieces of paper to insignificance of human lives. The author picked a woman as a victim in order to highlights the time in which the writer lived. She lived in time, when women were limited in their rights.

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