The Lottery: Analysis

What is the main theme in The Lottery? What do stones and the black box symbolize? There are so many questions to attend to about this story, so this article by Custom-Writing.org experts is here to help you out!

Apart from discussing the symbolism of The Lottery, we are looking into other specifics. For instance, there might be controversy about the antagonist’s identity if we suppose that Mrs. Hutchinson is the protagonist. The answer may surprise you!

Moreover, we work through other questions such as, “Why do the villagers continue the lottery ritual” and “What is the irony in The Lottery?”

🌈 The Lottery: Symbolism & Imagery

Shirley Jackson creates rather unexpected imagery in The Lottery. From the beginning of the story, the setting creates an uplifting mood. Everybody knows how good the winner of the lottery must feel. However, as the plot is developing, the reader may notice some suspicious signs, such as a nice pile of stones on the square and a pitch-black box with pieces of paper.

Those are the elements of symbolism in The Lottery that wouldn’t seem too alarming to a first-time reader, but they are unquestionably weird. What’s more, Mr. Delacroix’s name may be related to the topic of religion. All the details have their own meaning and contribute to the overall mood of the story.

The key symbols in The Lottery bu Shirley Jackson are: stones, the blacl box, and Delacroix.

Stones in The Lottery

Stones, which become the tool of a violent murder at the end, are mentioned several times throughout the story. A symbol of pure violence, the stones serve as the reminder that people are always ready to commit a crime.

Soon the men began to gather, surveying their own children, speaking of planting and rain, tractors and taxes. They stood together, away from the pile of stones in the corner, and their jokes were quiet and they smiled rather than laughed.

The Lottery

Even little kids are involved. Boys gather the pile of stones before the event, and they throw them after it. Young Davy Hutchinson is also offered some pebbles. It all represents how savage people can be when they blindly follow the customs.

None of the villagers is conscious. “They still remember to use stones,” even though they don’t remember the ritual’s purpose.

Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones. The pile of stones the boys had made earlier was ready; there were stones o

The Lottery

What Does the Black Box Symbolize in The Lottery?

If you’re wondering what the black box symbolizes in The Lottery, you identified this symbol straight away! The villagers use the box for keeping the pieces of paper they draw.

Even though the original container was lost, people don’t want to “upset tradition” and get the new black box. Their loyalty is almost illogical since the box is so old it nearly falls apart.

There was a story that the present box had been made with some pieces of the box that had preceded it, the one that had been constructed when the first people settled down to make a village here.

The Lottery

However, it reminds the villagers of all how long they have been doing it. They are almost proud to follow their ancestors’ rules. Just like the lottery itself, the box stays there for the sake of tradition.

What Does Delacroix Symbolize in The Lottery?

You can find the meaning of any name (even Martin) has something special about it. So what does Mrs. Delacroix symbolize in The Lottery? In French, Delacroix means “of the cross,” which brings us to the topic of religion. Jackson could have used it to underline the importance of the sacrifice, relating it to Jesus Christ.

However, there may be a less positive note on this issue. Since the villagers don’t pronounce the name correctly, it might be an element of mockery. There can’t be anything holy in that horrible ritual of sacrifice that the fictional society sticks to.

🎭 The Lottery: Protagonist & Antagonist

As you might have guessed, Tessie Hutchinson is the protagonist. However, what character can be considered the antagonist in The Lottery? It appears to be a tricky question because there are at least two different options.

At the beginning of the story, it is not yet clear who is the good guy because the villagers are all pictured as happy and peaceful. However, it appears that the only sane person is Mrs. Hutchinson, as she is the only one who protests against the cruelty of the event. The reader must feel like no one deserves to be stoned to death to keep the tradition alive. Therefore, Tessie deserves to be the protagonist in The Lottery.

The rest of the villagers don’t see why the result should be unfair and, with anger and violence (maybe even pleasure?), finish their ritual. 

Mrs. Delacroix selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands and turned to Mrs. Dunbar. “Come on,” she said. “Hurry up.

The Lottery

Here, we might suggest that they represent evil in the story. But let’s go one step further.

The villagers just unconsciously follow the flow of life. Therefore, we can assume that the society that creates traditions is the antagonist. Mob psychology forces everybody to obey the norms. 

Even if Old Man Warner seems to be the only one who supports the lottery so eagerly, we can’t ignore the bigger picture.

🎵 What Is the Main Theme in The Lottery?

As we discussed in the previous section, there are several major themes in The Lottery. However, the central idea is the presence of a dominant tradition that overwhelms the villagers’ rationality.

Essentially, the central theme comes down to how Old Man Warner feels about the lottery. He doesn’t question the tradition but simply believes in it. People don’t see any other way and just keep following the usual way of life. It can also be related to the society we live in nowadays. Shirley Jackson shows how important it is not to stay blindly loyal to the tradition and be open to changes.

😜 What Is the Irony in The Lottery?

The analysis of The Lottery can’t be complete if we miss this topic! There is not much verbal irony in the story (like the names), but the situations pictured by the author are more than ironic. Even the idea of the lottery is twisted. You would usually expect to win some money or a valuable prize in the lottery. However, in this story, the winner only gets stones.

Surely, there is nothing funny about death, but Jackson still included some situational irony. For instance, Tessie seems to be the only one whose attitude towards the event is so careless and negligent, almost like she knows her family is safe. So guess what? She is the one who gets stoned at the end!

🎰 Why Do the Villagers Continue the Lottery Ritual?

Like some of the quotes from The Lottery suggest, “Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon.” The older villagers are incredibly superstitious and believe that abandoning the tradition may lead to a catastrophe, such as famine. Stoning a random victim to death supposedly boosts the harvest yield. The younger generation just follows their lead.

People just keep the ritual going because they don’t know how things are without it. They are used to this way of life, and they will keep going, no matter how old-fashioned and violent this tradition is. 

Pack of crazy fools. 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 work any more, live that way for a while.

The Lottery

We hope that the above information is useful. If you’re looking for exciting essay ideas on the story, please read this article

🔗 References

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