Analysis of the Lottery

Analysis of the Lottery by “Shirley Jackson”

“The Lottery,” written by Shirley Jackson, is a shocking parable. “The Lottery” is set in a small village on a clear summer day. Written in objective third person point of view, “The Lottery” keeps the reader in suspense and makes one believe that it is a light hearted story until it takes a dark turn at the end
The purpose of The Lottery is to ensure enough rain to have a good corn crop the following June. The story develops around the misguided belief that if the villagers sacrifice one of their own to what readers are led to believe is a Rain God, then they will have good crops.
“The Lottery” has many obvious themes and symbols. One of the main themes to this story is tradition. In relation to the theme, Old Man Warner is a symbol of tradition. He expresses grief over the dwindling traditional values of the new generation. This is evident in his statement about them when he says, “Pack of crazy fools…Listening to the young folks, nothing’s good enough for them,” (S. Jackson P.426) indicating that he thinks the lottery is a good idea simply because it is tradition. He lasted through seventy-seven lotteries in which tradition was upheld with ceremony and circumstance. He could not understand the younger generation’s lack of traditionalism. This brings up the next theme, which is people hate change because human nature is constant. “Mr. Summers spoke frequently to the villagers about making a new box, but no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the ”black box,” ,(S. Jackson P.423) this statement clearly shows the villagers’ dislike for change. Even though “the black box grew shabbier each year”, (S. Jackson P. 423) the people determinedly held to custom. This also shows that though the lottery may be an immoral act, it is upheld by tradition and the peoples’ reluctance to any deviation in their customary lives.   Sacrifice and compliance are also part of the theme. The lottery is a...