Short Story Analysis
Shirley Jackson's short story, "The Lottery", uses irony and comedy to suggest an evil hypocrisy and weakness of the human race. The story takes place in a small village, where the people are close and tradition is dominant. A yearly event, called the lottery, is where one person in the town is randomly chosen in a drawing. To be violently stoned by friends and family. The drawing has been around for over seventy-seven years and is practiced by every member of the town. The unusualness of this idea is most clear through the tone. Jackson’s use of friendly language among the villagers and the presentation of the lottery as an event, similar to the square dances and Halloween programs, illustrate the lottery as a joyful event. The social atmosphere of the women prior to the drawing is also described: "They greeted one another and exchanged bits of gossip…” The lottery is conducted in a particular manner, and with so much anticipation by the villagers, that the reader expects the winner to receive a prize or something of that manner. It is not until the very end of the story that you learn of the winner's fate: Their prize being death, by friends and family. The lottery is set in a very ordinary town, where everyone knows everyone and individuals are typical. Families carry the very ordinary names of Warner, Martin and Anderson. Jackson's portrayal of extreme evil in this ordinary, friendly atmosphere suggests that people are not always as they seem. The story implies that underneath one's outward congeniality, there may be lurking a pure evil. Though the story does not become harmful until the end, the idea is foreshadowed through Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves. Mr. Summers is the man in charge of the lottery. He prepares the slips of paper to be drawn and he mediates the activity. He is described as a respected man, joking around with the villagers and carrying on this foreboding event with no conscience at all. "Mr. Summers was...
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