Short Fiction Essay - the Lottery

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Stacey Jones
Short fiction paper
11/06/12

Shirley Jackson “The Lottery”

Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” is a chilling tale of a small town whose people had to participate in a lottery each year. The first onset of this reading depictures a story of hope. The first few paragraphs shows truth in what you would think is going to be a heartfelt happy story; it was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green. The title alone makes the readers think that this is going to be a cheerful story. Soon the reader finds out that this isn’t the type of lottery that one may wish to win. Jackson tells a story descriptive through her characters, known in the story as “the villagers”. These villagers have lived on generation after generation accustomed to the lottery and what they believe is good for their town. Although the reader does not know what the “prize” of the lottery is until the end, we do know the village comes together each year to participate in this horrid tradition of “winning” the lottery only to be stoned to death by family and peers. As the story unfolds it shows how people in a threatened society can turn against each other even if they are family members.

Jackson set the mood at first, as stated, that it was a happy occasion. “they tended to gather quietly for a while before they broke into boisterous play”. Then as the men began to gather the story talks of them “surveying their own children, “speaking of “planting and rain, tractors and taxes” as if everything is perfect and nothing to fear. Also how the lottery was conducted “as were the square dances, the teen club, and the Halloween programs”. It wasn’t long into the story that you may wonder what kind of lottery this may be. The talk of children gathering stones into piles and some guarding them gave you the first mind set in wondering what exactly are they doing and what is the lottery truly about....
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