Comparing The Ritual And Tradition In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

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In “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, we learn that it’s about a town with a dark past and a very unique ritual. Many aspects of this ritual and tradition seem to be just as old as the town itself, especially since most of the residents don’t recall any of the old rituals, even the Old Man Warner, who is “celebrating” his 77th lottery. This means that they are archaic in some ways and rooted in traditions of superstitions that seem to involve crops and human sacrifice. During the Salem Witch Trials in early America, one of the most common complaints about presumed “witches” was that they were responsible for bad harvests, also the fact that all of the town immediately turned on her once she got the “lottery”. In this paper I will argue that…show more content…
The mood of this story changes when Shirley states “other boys soon followed his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones” this is the first important thing we can encounter because in the witch trials a common way to kill witches is stoning them to death. This also shows how the kids are happy and joyful for this. The next example of this is the “Black Box”. It is the only thing that remains of the ritual, and it is black which a symbol of evil and death. The state of the box also has a symbolic meaning; it is described as the blackness of the box represents the death and horrifying things that came along with it. The box was kept as a tradition as shabby, in disrepair, needing to be replaced/updated; Mr. Summers wants to replace it, but villagers hold on to it as an EMPTY tradition, very much like the some of the towns people’s views of the lottery in the first place. The next symbol is “Little Dave” which is a character which shows innocence and innocence corrupted. Innocence is shown when Davy goes willingly to the black box and laughs, and when he looks at Mr. Graves “wonderingly”. Innocence corrupted is portrayed when “The children had stones already. And someone gave little Davy Hutchinson few pebbles.” This shows that they corrupted Davy to throw stones at his own

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