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This short essay will analyze the representation of violence in The lottery By Shirley Jackson.
The late 1940’s were a great time to be alive, it had simple ties that made each day brighter. Dancing teen-agers, playful kids, and gossiping wives filled the town, all in anticipation for this little black box that was the cent or their tradition. Throughout The Lottery Shirley Jackson uses tone and symbolism to illustrate acts of violence.
In the beginning of the story, the children of the town are playing and adults are all gathered around talking to each other harmlessly. Jackson describes the children “breaking into boisterous play” and “stuffing their pockets full of stones” representing that the children are having a great, care free time. At the same time the men in the story “speak of plating and the rain” while “surveying their own children” as they waited on the women to come and stand with them before the big town meeting. It seems as if everything is well within the town they are all uneasy inside. However, the town keeps its straight face to portray that all families are thriving.
The town gathered around the square when Mr. Summers came into it. He was a man “who had time and energy to devote to civic activities” and he was “carrying the black wooden box”. The wooden black box is a symbol of the lives of the people that live in this town. “The black box grew shabbier and shabbier each year”, the people’s lives are becoming worse with the lottery each year like the black box that can’t be renewed.
At the end of the story the author uses the tone of intensity to demonstrate the beginning of violence. Nancy was part of the chosen family “and her school friends breathed heavily as she went forward”, because they didn’t want her to get hurt. Lucky for them she was not chosen by the lottery, but her mother Tessie was. Tessie was “gasping for breath” as the violence or the lottery started. Then as it she let out one last intense scream before “they were upon her”.
In conclusion, in The Lottery Jackson demonstrates the acts of violence through tone and symbolism. Instead of writing about the violent stoning in the town he used tone to show the nerves of the people, and how on edge they were. The symbolism of the box is the part of their lives that they don’t want to see all the time but they must use it once a year, but each year is worse than the last. The story ends with Tessie begging for mercy and claiming that the lottery isn’t fair. The reader can make the conclusion that she was stoned by her neighbors, friends and family.
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