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Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery

          Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery is a haunting testament to the conflict between societal standards and individual morality, employing symbolism as an element of fiction to emphasize the idea of opposing unfair traditions. The symbolism incorporated in items and characters is a crucial aspect of this narrative. The worn and faded black box exemplifies blind loyalty to tradition. Its continuous use, despite its degradation, represents inertia and a reluctance to challenge established norms. This symbolically emphasizes the fundamental issue of the story: the risks of following tradition without ethical inquiry. Furthermore, the stones, which were formerly innocuous, are transformed into emblems of collective violence. They depict the villagers’ passive compliance, in which they participate in a ritualized horror without critical thought. Tessie emerges as an essential character who represents defiance of society’s standards. Her outrage over the lottery’s injustice exemplifies the bravery required to question entrenched standards. Tessie’s defiance becomes a symbol of personal integrity, in contrast to the village’s communal allegiance to an unfair tradition.  Despite being set in a supposedly perfect past, Jackson’s story resonates as a universal statement for modern society. The issue of questioning unjust customs remains vitally relevant in today’s context. Today’s society is grappling with its forms of lotteries – norms or practices that defy moral standards, ranging from racial biases to gender inequities.