Analysis of the Lottery

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Analysis of the Lottery

By | May 2008
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The short story, “The Lottery” written by Shirley Jackson, gives the lottery a bad meaning rather than a good one. In this story the lottery is not what first comes to a reader’s mind, of winning a lot of money; In fact it is actually used for a public stoning. The word lottery itself has an ambiguous meaning and throws the reader off until the ending. Both metaphorical and literal meanings are shown in this story. It shows face value of what the whole story is about, and hidden behind it is the idea of the scapegoat being chosen like a lottery number. The setting takes place in the town square of a small town. The story starts out on a warm, sunny, summer day with a cheerful atmosphere. It just seems like a normal, nice day for a town meeting. Some foreshadowing takes place when “Bobby and Harry Jones and Dickie… eventually made a great pile of stones in one corner of the square…” which hints at the imminent doom of the lottery winner. A small message in this short story is showing how society has different roles for boys and girls. In the second paragraph, the boys were all surrounded and excited about the stone gathering, while the girls stood to the side watching the boys. The names in this story are important as well. The name of the character, Mr. Summers, makes you think of happiness and sunshine. He represents the business part of society, because he ran the coal business. As for the name of the character, Mr. Graves, you automatically think of a grave. He represents the government, because he works for the post office. The character Mr. Martin, represents the merchant, because he runs a grocery store. The plot of this short story is entirely based on chance and tradition. Everyone in the town gathers together to participate in this event of tradition and chance, and whoever gets picked will have to pay the price. The use of chance in this story sends the message that in life scapegoats for anything is chosen randomly, and is not always chosen...

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