The short story called The Lottery by Shirley Jackson incorporates many symbols to emphasize the theme throughout the story. One of the symbols that is mentioned in the short story is the lottery, which represents tradition and how a group uses violence to conform to society. The author also utilizes the names of the villagers as symbols to depict contradictory characteristics of each personage. In addition to these symbols, Jackson also uses the black box, the three-legged stool, and the stones as other symbols used to enforce the representation of tradition, sacrifice, and religious ideologies. The reference made about tradition is attributed to the accepted and passed down tradition of the lottery mentioned throughout the short story. However, this symbol is also simultaneously related to the religious traditions of the citizens mentioned by the author. One may connect these two concepts due to the fact that family and society have reinforced this practice of “the lottery”. Thus, this mentality leads people to rarely question the morality of engaging in “the lottery” due to its social acceptance. Whilst these individuals consent and conform to participating in this activity as a society, they are left vulnerable to the chance of catastrophic failure.
Firstly, the reader is left to interpret the title The Lottery, which tells a tale in its self. The title deceives the reader to deduce that the definition of a lottery is referring to what it is inferred to be in this day and age, full of hope and fortune. Not only is the title deceitful but the setting also tricks the reader "The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full summer day; the flowers were blooming profusely and the grass was richly green." (Jackson, 263).This quote is misleading due to the fact that readers expectations are going to be of a jubilant narration which in is the contrary of what is going to actually occur in the story. However, the reader is in for an enormous surprise, which includes the genuine portrayal of “the lottery”. In this short story, the notion of “the lottery” is about the tradition of one unlucky citizen and his or her death. This symbol, not only proves ones life chances, but also the sudden and unexpected nature of death. Not only does “the lottery” provide an uncertainty of death to anyone in the town, including men, women, children, elderly and even individuals of power, it also downgrades women by not allowing them to choose from the black box and giving the men the power to blindly choose the fate of his family members. Even when the man of the family is no where to be found, as in the Dunbar and Watson families, the villagers said that the Watson boy is old enough to draw for his mother now that his father is mysteriously absent. The origins of the lottery are not clear, however the story suggests that it began as some kind of human sacrifice, to have a fruitful corn harvest. However, this is not the case during the story, but the village is to scared to break tradition and continue to preserve and follow blindly this bizarre ritual. Without a sense of the lottery's history, it's become a totally hollow act, one which is completed time after time. Most of the citizens will not suggest openly that the lottery might be immoral. For the most part, they will accept their tradition without voicing any questions or misgivings, for fear of retribution. This tradition has been passed on for so long that the majority does not think twice about it. Even when Mrs. Adams comments that "Some places have already quit lotteries" (Jackson, 266), she does not directly suggest that their village follow suit.
Secondly, Jackson also uses the villager’s names as symbolism's, such as Mr. Graves name which symbolizes death. However, the author deceives readers once again with Mr. Summer’s name, because the character is cold and dark not warm and bright as the name suggests. Both Mr. Graves and Mr. Summers