Character Analysis of the Lottery

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The lottery is usually associated with beating the odds and winning something extravagant. In Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery”, the reader is led to believe the story is about something cheerful and happy given the setting of a warm summer day and children out of school for the summer. Jackson turns winning the lottery into a bad thing. Of 300 villagers Tessie Hutchinson shows up late, claiming she forgot about the annual lottery drawing, but seems very excited to have made it on time. When Tessie was in no danger she is gossiping with neighbors and encourages her husband to draw for the winner. Jackson curiously builds up the character of Tessie so that it seems she is blinded by tradition until she becomes a victim of it herself. Mrs. Hutchinson is introduced in the story as being late for the drawing of the lottery and claims that she “`clean forgot what day it was’” (Jackson 206). After reading the story and knowing the outcome, it seems ironic that someone could truly forget something that is so awful. It’s almost as if Tessie was dreading this day all along. Why else would she have claimed to forget something so important to the town? Maybe Tessie was overly excited to get in on the action only to act as if it were no big deal. The Author also describes her as coming “hurriedly along the path to the square...” (Jackson 206). Was this because she had truly forgotten and didn’t want to be late, or because she couldn’t wait for the lottery to begin? Initially Mrs. Hutchinson is presented as a character who when she arrives, she calmly talks to the other women and makes a joke to her husband by saying “` Wouldn’t have me leave m’dishes in the sink, now, would you, Joe’” (Jackson 206). When It comes time for Tessie’s husband Bill to draw she rushes him by telling him to “`get up there’” (Jackson 208). Tessie feels as if she is in no danger. This conduct makes her appear to be anxious about the drawing so the stoning can begin and confident that...
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