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The short story, “The Lottery” was written by Shirley Jackson. The story concerns a small village in a rural town that is bound to a meaningless and ruthless tradition. The Lottery refers to an annual event in the village where all members, both adults and children are required to show up. During the event, all members must pick a piece of paper and the one who pick a drawn paper is the winner. Unfortunately in this lottery, the winner of the lottery wins death by stoning. In the story, there are many characters who are all symbolic of something about the story.

The boys in the story refer to the sons of some of the villagers. Dickie Delacroix, Harry and Bobby Jones, and Bobby Martin are lively young boys glad to have begun their summer holiday. The excitement of these boys is not just normal for people their age but a reflection of the mood of the society regarding the Lottery event. The boys assembled early to collect the pile of stones before the start of the ceremony. This is symbolic of the eagerness of all the villagers to attend. Mr. Summers is an innovator and loves to solve problems for his villagers but they are hardly interested in his ideas. He convinces the villagers to use pieces of paper for the lottery instead of chips of wood but failed to convince on the need for a new box. Mr. Summers represents the voice of change in the village. He also represents progress that has been rejected by people desperately in need.

Harry Graves is the postmaster of the village and in charge of communication between the village and the outside world. The role that he plays in the story is symbolic of his name, Graves. He is the one who arrives with the stool that props up the black box used in the lottery. He also gives power to Mr. Summers to carry put the lottery. Indeed, his job and his name are symbolic. While he controls communication between the living people in his village and those outside, he also commissions Mr. Summers to lead people to die and into the spirit world. Graves also initiates Dave Hutchinson into the lottery where his mother died. Graves is clearly the face of death in the story.

Tess Hutchinson is a wife and a mother who arrives late for the lottery. She appears to be a free spirit when she declares she had forgotten about the event and that is why she was late. She does not seem eager to keep the tradition of arriving on time. Unfortunately for her, she wins the lottery and is to be put to death. At this point she declares that the lottery is unfair and shouts as she pleads for her life. Interestingly she offers the lives of her children so that she could be spared. She represents hypocritical people in society. They put up good and easy appearances but instead they are willing to do what it takes to save their own skin.

The old man Warner is the oldest in his village. He resists change and change threatens him. He represents traditions in the society. He is the custodian of the lottery tradition in the village as he maintains that the annual event must be observed at al costs. Warner also represents stagnation and meaningless cultural practices. He believes that failure to observe the lottery will result in poor harvests for an entire year. Being an old and frail man, nobody opposes him. In the same way, no one is so bold to resist the lottery practice in the village, including the affected families. He is representing bondage to traditions.

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