The Lottery

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The Lottery
A healthy harvest has always been important to civilizations. Once field preparation is done, the farmer can only wait and hope that the correct balance of rain and sun will ensure a good harvest. Many ancient cultures believed that growing crops represented the life cycle; hence they believed ritual sacrifice was needed to guarantee a good crop. In this short story "The Lottery," Shirley Jackson uses this archetype to showcase man's inherent need for such ritual. The story is set in a small town, on the morning of June 27th. It opens with false innocence, using children, and tricking the reader into an unaware state. The reader almost expects the Lottery to be something wonderful since the lottery represented in today’s society has the winner getting a prize of a large amount of money or possession. In this actual story, the reader ends up discovering that the town people use the lottery to pick a winner to stone to death. No one in town really knows exactly why it is a tradition. Old Man Warner indicates that it was once said “lottery in June, corn be heavy soon” (246). Ironically, even the oldest member of this village doesn't even remember the real reason behind the lottery. As times changed, 'The Lottery' changed with it. Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" uses the third-person dramatic point of view to tell a story (Wiehardt). The narrator in the story gives many small details of the lottery taking place, but leaves the most crucial and chilling detail until the end. The use of the third-person point of view is an effective way of telling this ironic tale, both because the narrator's reporter-like blandness parallels the villagers' apparent apathy to the lottery, and because it helps build to the surprise ending by giving away bits of information to the reader through the actions and discussions of the villagers without giving away the final twist. Male dominance plays an important theme throughout the story which can be proven by the role the...
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