The Lottery by Shirley Jackson is an iconic short story filled with a variety of literary devices and themes. Irony and symbolism used throughout the story.
Foreshadowing: By the end of the story, it is revealed that the lottery is actually a ritualistic killing of one of the villagers. Jackson uses foreshadowing to hint that something isn’t quite right with the situation.
This begins with a quote from the story, “Suddenly Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves made some jokes about how the lottery took too long”. This hints at the tensions between the villagers and the fact that they are hiding something.
Irony: The lottery is a stark example of situational irony: a cruel tradition that is accepted by the villagers without question. The fact that they treat it as a matter of course is ironic, as it is understood in the end that the lottery is a ritualistic sacrifice.
Symbolism: The black box, which holds the names of the villagers is heavily symbolic. It is a symbol of tradition, to the point that it is assumed to still exist even if it’s falling apart. It’s also a symbol of oppression, as none of the villagers ever question why such a thing exists.
Another significant symbol is the lottery itself. It stands in for the idea of predestination. Although the lottery’s results are haphazard, the villagers accept it as a source of order and, ultimately, a source of justice in the world.
Through the use of foreshadowing, irony and symbolism, Shirley Jackson brings her short story The Lottery to life. The story is full of tragedy and dark humor, as the villagers come to terms with their traditions and beliefs.
How does The Lottery use literary devices?
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson employs a variety of literary devices to convey its ominous tone and dark themes, including symbolism, imagery, foreshadowing, irony, and metaphor. The story begins with a descriptive and foreboding setting and atmosphere of a beautiful summer day, contrasting with what is to come.
This imagery helps to create suspense and tension as readers begin to wonder what will happen.
Symbolism is highly used in The Lottery, beginning with the titular event itself— the lottery— which is used to represent the dangerous tradition of blindly following the customs of the village, no matter how unjust or cruel they may be.
Jackson also employs several symbols of nature throughout the story that illustrate its themes of mortality, including stones, a pile of wood, and the vibrant grass of the village square.
Foreshadowing is used throughout the story to emphasize its themes. As the box of paper slips is brought out for the lottery, the reader suspects that something sinister is about to occur. Additionally, once Tessie Hutchinson has her fateful drawing and is revealed as the “winner,” the villagers’ eerie and remorseless demeanor shifts the mood of the town from sheer terror to satisfaction.
Irony is a significant literary element in The Lottery, from the idea of a lottery being used as a way to celebrate one’s death, to the fact that individuals as kind and innocent as children would be the first to look down upon Mrs.
Hutchinson’s name being chosen. Lastly, Jackson employs several metaphors in the story that can be self-referential to the traditions, customs, and rituals that the characters— and society— follow, such as blind faith and tradition, and how those beliefs can be passed on unconsciously.
All of these literary devices serve to make The Lottery a thrilling and suspenseful story, while also underlining its dark themes and the consequences of blindly following customs.
What is a metaphor in The Lottery?
In “The Lottery,” Shirley Jackson uses a metaphor to represent the villagers’ blind faith in a tradition that is both harmful and archaic. The metaphor reads: “The villagers kept their distance, leaving a space between them and the stubble-covered pile of stones in the square, and they kept their voices low, so low that sometimes the only sound was the scuffle of their feet on the rough surface of the path.
” This metaphor illustrates how the villagers keep their distance from the pile of stones in the square, as if these stones were something to be feared. It also suggests that the villagers are hesitant to confront the “evil” within the lottery, as if it is a forbidden knowledge.
By combining the idea of distance and fear of the unknown, Jackson’s metaphor captures the villagers’ horrified acceptance of the lottery’s consequences.
How is foreshadowing used in the lottery?
Foreshadowing is a literary technique used to create suspense, anticipation, and hint at future plot developments. It is often used to create a sense of anticipation for a reader as they get closer and closer to the climax of the story.
In Shirley Jackson’s iconic short story, “The Lottery”, foreshadowing is a key element in setting the tone and adding depth to the story.
At the start of the story, Jackson foreshadows the lottery’s true purpose by introducing ominous details. She mentions the black box, which has been used in the lottery “for as long as anyone can remember”, and the villagers’ insistence on following tradition.
In addition, the list of names recited by Mr. Summers during the lottery is seen as foreshadowing the lead-up to the tragic climax. Old Man Warner, who is a main advocate of the lottery, speaks of how other villages are eschewing the lottery and warns “Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon”.
This proclamation can be seen as a metaphor for human sacrifice as a means of ensuring good fortune in the future.
The most powerful use of foreshadowing occurs when Tessie Hutchinson, the eventual winner of the lottery, is chosen. Immediately, her family members draw away from her, setting her apart from the other villagers.
This is used to foreshadow the lonely and tragic fate that befalls her.
Overall, Shirley Jackson uses foreshadowing effectively to add tension and dread to “The Lottery”. By slowly unveiling the details of the lottery over the course of the story, Jackson is able to slowly build up the suspense, leading to an unexpected and shocking climax.
What type of irony is most present in the lottery?
The most common type of irony present in the “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson is situational irony. This is when an expectation is set up by the narrative and then something entirely unexpected and often ironic happens.
Throughout the story, the reader gradually builds up an image of a pleasant and hopeful day; a chance for the villagers to relax, enjoy themselves, and bring a happy end to their harvest season. However, the lottery they actually take part in is far from what the reader would expect; it is the sacrificial offering of a member of the community.
In reality, the lottery can be seen as a symbol of superstition and tradition, rather than a lottery with a chance of winning or a joyous event. As the reader finds out, the real winner of the lottery is a member of the community who is randomly chosen and offered up as a human sacrifice.
This unexpected and ironic turn of events creates a sense of dread and shock in the reader, making it an effective example of situational irony.
What are the 5 examples of irony?
1. Verbal Irony: When someone says something but means the opposite. For example, “Nice weather we’re having,” said in response to a rainy day.
2. Situational Irony: When an unexpected or opposite result occurs compared with what was expected. For example, a fire station burning down.
3. Dramatic Irony: When the audience or reader knows more about a situation than a character in the story. For example, in a horror movie where the audience knows something bad is about to happen but the character is unaware.
4. Cosmic Irony: When a situation occurs that seems like a coincidence, but is actually the result of fate. For example, when a person tries to avoid the rain and ends up stepping in a puddle.
5. Tragic Irony: When a person’s words or actions bring about the opposite of the intended result. For example, in the classic play Romeo and Juliet, Juliet’s death is a result of her own actions of trying to fake her own death in order to be with Romeo.
How is the black box ironic in the lottery?
The use of the “black box” in Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” is a powerful symbol of irony. By using a black box to hold the slips of paper that contain the names of those chosen to participate in the lottery, Jackson is making the suggestion that a ceremony that appears innocent, even important, is actually something sinister.
The color of the box itself is significant, as black typically symbolizes death in literature. The villagers treat the box with a combination of respect and fear, indicating their awareness of the dark nature of their task.
The irony of the black box is further emphasized by the fact that it has been passed down through generations, yet no one remembers what it originally contained or what purpose it served. The villagers believe that it was given to them by an earlier generation to be used in the lottery, even though they are not sure what it actually is or why they are using it.
This is an indication of the power of tradition and the way that rituals can become accepted without any clear explanation. As the villagers take part in the lottery each year, the black box reinforces its symbolic meaning, highlighting the contradiction between appearances and reality.
What are some symbols in the story The Lottery?
Some of the main symbols in the story The Lottery by Shirley Jackson are the black box, rocks, and the village itself.
The black box is a physical representation of tradition and blindly blindly following the rules even though no one knows the origin of the lottery. It is a symbol of how someone can be put to death for something that is not rational or justified.
It is also a symbol of collective thought and the idea of the majority being right.
Rocks also appear as a symbol in the story. The villagers use stones in order to cast their ballots to vote for who will be sacrificed in the lottery. Thus, the stones are a representation of conformity and of how one is chosen to be sacrificed in the name of tradition.
Lastly, the village itself symbolizes conformity, tradition, and blind obedience. This is seen through the way that everyone in the village participates in the lottery despite the fact that it is outdated and barbaric.
Thus, the village itself can be seen as representation of the way in which tradition is maintained even though it may not make sense or rational.
How are the stones a symbol in the lottery?
The stones in The Lottery are a powerful symbol representing the randomness and blind acceptance of tradition in the town. The stones show how people can be easily swayed by their environment and take part in actions without question or consideration.
The stones have a specific weight and size, signifying the uniform behavior of the town’s citizens. As the villagers gather around and the stones are passed around, each person takes a piece without any knowledge of where it came from and with no regard to who it belongs to.
This symbolizes how, in the short run, acquiring and collecting the stones can seem harmless and almost natural. Therefore, the stones become representative of the dynamics in the town, depicting how citizens can easily be entrapped in malicious traditions.
Ultimately, the stones symbolize how customs and traditions, no matter how irrational and outdated they are, can become deeply embedded into a lifestyle and be followed without thought.
What do the chips of wood symbolize in the lottery?
The chips of wood symbolize the act of randomly choosing someone to be the unlucky recipient of the lottery. In the story, Mr. Summers acts as the overseer of the lottery, and it is his job to draw the slips of paper from the box.
Meanwhile, the chips of wood are used to randomly determine which family gets their paper chosen – each family contributes a single chip to the pile. This creates an element of suspense and surprise as no one knows which family will be chosen until the chips have been randomly drawn.
It also serves as a metaphor for the role of chance in life, as it ultimately doesn’t matter if someone is wealthy, educated, or anything else; sometimes a person’s fate is completely out of their own hands.
Who are the 3 main characters in the lottery?
The 3 main characters in Shirley Jackson’s story “The Lottery” are Mr. Summers, Old Man Warner, and Tess Hutchinson.
Mr. Summers is the leader of the lottery and the village. He takes the responsibility of organizing the lottery, which happens every year, and collecting the slips of paper from houses all around the village.
He is a cheerful, helpful neighbor and is accepting of the ritual despite his dislike for it.
Old Man Warner is the oldest man in the village and the head of the oldest family. He has been attending lotteries for 72 years and has seen it all. He is one of the strongest supporters of the lottery because of the tradition behind it and is determined to protect it.
He is also known to be superstitious, believing that it will bring them luck.
Tess Hutchinson is the one selected in the lottery by drawing the marked piece of paper from the black box. She protests against the tradition as she believes that it is unfair and cruel. She is desperate to be spared from being sacrificed and pleads for her family to be saved as well.
However, she is faced with the same fate as everyone else.
What do stones symbolize?
Stones have long been used as symbols of strength and endurance. They are often seen as physical representations of the enduring nature of life, thus symbolizing things like resilience, patience, and constancy.
Stones symbolize the idea that life is hard and long-lasting, and that no matter what is going on in the present, one can rely on the strength that comes with enduring it. Additionally, stones are seen as symbols of wisdom and longevity, representing the notion that older and wiser people have greater knowledge and understanding.
They also represent a kind of spiritual energy, showing us that no matter how hard things are, there will always be a source of power to tap into when times are tough. Symbolically, stones remind us that it is possible to rise above our struggles and keep going no matter what.