The Lottery

Robert Keit                                                                                                          Professor Dominique Zino

English 162W                                                                                                    March 8 2011

The short story, The Lottery by Shirley Jackson, is about a small American town of about 300 citizens who have a yearly ritual that is called the Lottery. The townsfolk’s draw papers from a black box and the person who gets the paper with a black mark gets stoned to death. The person is sacrificed to help insure a plentiful corn harvest. In the in the chapter Mythical Space and Place, Tuan mentions that spaces can have mythical properties associated with them. Tuan mentions villages in other societies that practice this same tradition. The diagrams that Tuan draws on page 94 and 95 are similar to how in The Lottery, the space that is cleared for the victim is considered sacred and acts as their deathbed.

Tuan mentions that in Western societies, people tend to be ignorant towards neighboring towns (Tuan 88).This is similar to when Mr. Adams and Warner exchange dialogue during the lottery process,  “’…that over in the North village they’re talking of giving up the lottery’.’Pack of crazy fools’” (Jackson 250).The symbols of the names of characters and the symbols of the box could be symbolic as well. the color black being a symbol of death and how the mark on the paper is black and the box is black.

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