Dr. William J. Kelly
English 102.A15 Composition II: Writing about Literature
March 9, 2015
Journal Entry Six
In “The Lottery,” Shirley Jackson tells the story of rituals and traditions, violence and cruelty. The story is about an annual lottery draw in a small town where average citizens take part in an annual sacrifice or stoning of one of their own residents. The lottery has been practiced for over seventy years by the townspeople. By using symbolism, Jackson uses names, objects, and the setting to conceal the true meaning and intention of the lottery.
The names of each character hold significant meanings to the lottery. The name “Dellacroix” (259) is the meaning of “Of the cross” in French. In this sentence, “…the villagers pronounced this name “Dellacroy” (259) shows that people pronouncing Dellacroix incorrectly, therefore, provoking the Christian symbol of martyrdom. “Summers” (259) is the surname of the conductor of the Lottery. The lottery happens during summer, and Mr. Summer’s assistant is “Mr. Graves” (259). This hints that there will be a “Grave” during “summer” and the winner’s prize is a violent stoning from the townspeople.
The objects in the story also represent religious and symbolic meanings to the lottery. “Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones;” (259) shows that young kids were picking up smooth stones. Most rocks are jagged, knife-like and tapered. The reason they were picking up the smoothest stones is because jagged rocks would most likely kill someone much faster, but with smooth stones, it would grant someone a slow death because of the flat surface and round edges. Jackson indicates the children find normalcy in this murderous event, and that they easily follow their elders. The two objects used in the lottery have religious meanings. The black box is used to draw pieces of paper for the lottery, and it rested above a three-legged stool. The black box holds the key between life or death for every single one of the townspeople, and embodies the evil acts that have been executed in the past and the ones to come. Even the color of the box (black) is a universal symbol for evil and death. The three-legged stool represents the Christian Trinity. Each leg represents God the father, God the son, and the Holy Spirit. The three-legged stool holds the black box of death which is ironic because the Christian Trinity represents