Argument Essay on the Lottery by Shirley Jackson with Works Cited Page

1612 words 7 pages
“The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson is about Symbolism

"The Lottery," a short story written by Shirley Jackson, is a tale about an inhumane

and horrific tradition that a community celebrates every year between 10 a.m. and noon

on June 27, a sunny day, in a New England village (“Cummings Study Guide”). Not only

is this story about tradition but it also hides the meaning of symbolism as well. The

setting takes place in a small village consisting of about three hundred people. On June

twenty-seventh of every year, the members of this traditional community hold a village

wide lottery in which everyone is expected to participate. A black box holds hundreds of

pieces of paper that each member of the community
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Who's got it? Is it the Dunbars? Is it the

Watsons?" The Dunbars and the Watsons are the least productive families in the

village, with Mr. Dunbar's leg broken and Mr. Watson dead. This unconscious fear that

uselessness determines the lottery's "winner" produces incentive for diligent work.

Again we can see the fear as reading when the villagers’ reactions while they were

gathering.” They stood together, away from the pile of stones in the corner, and their

jokes were quiet and they smiled rather than laughed”. The villagers were not

comfortable during the lottery. The adults seem on edge, but the children actually don’t

understand what is going on. All they know is that the stones are fun to play with and

they are getting ready to throw them at an innocent member of the village. This is a

terrible violence of the children, and everyone teaches the children this by example

because it is tradition. It is a horrible crime that the children help kill someone in a

violent way. Shirley Jackson shocked her audience and made us think about our actions

today in situations and how we are with our children. We follow traditions even though

some are ludicrous which our children see us do as they grow up.

At next, relationships in a family were very different from relationships in present

family life. Like when Mrs. Hutchinson’s family is chosen in the