Reflection over Shirley Jackson’s Lottery

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Reflection over Shirley Jackson’s Lottery.

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson is a good, classic piece of horror literature. The reader is not aware of what is happening till the very end of the short story, moreover, in the first half of it the reader is supposed to think the described society, people, town, its life are as normal as his own and contemporary to his own time. The author tells us about such things as taxes, tractors, post office and bank, teen-age club and the Halloween program in order to make us feel at home, or at least, somewhere nearby that place. The introductory description is even, modest even tiresome to a certain extent. Ordinary people, ordinary life, ordinary matters, all the action is concentrated around the mysterious lottery, but as far as nothing more is mentioned of it, the reader’s interest is quite moderate, for the reader must have grasped the idea of the whole thing long time ago, he knows what lottery is.

But then in the course of action it becomes clear that this lottery isn’t usual. The author doesn’t reveal it fully, doesn’t tell us the truth directly, but he makes hints here and there so that gradually the reader guesses: “This lottery isn’t the lottery I know. And perhaps it is far from it. And perhaps… well, is it its very opposite?” That’s where the tension takes its beginning. The reader catches the uneasiness of the story characters; he spots the first dark cloud on the bright blue sky of the story outward pastorality. As far as I can judge from my personal reading experience – it is a classical move, typical of the 20th century American horror stories (talking of my experience I mean, first of all, stories by Stephen King and his son Joe Hill). Also, in my opinion, it is a sign of literary “quality”, the author’s good taste – this concealing of the real nature of the described things till the very end. It helps the reader to become actually a real witness of the events, while receiving no any special explanation...
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