The Lottery Point of View
Shirley Jackson’s choice of point of view in “The Lottery” is that of being told in the third person. The story is told more by an observer’s point of view rather than that of a participant. In “The Lottery” she illustrates how what is being done to the family members, of people in the village, is an act of pointless bloodshed. It isn’t clear as to why they carry on with the ancient rite but what is clear is that the people in the village are obedient to the past law and are unwilling to see the whole thing for what it is, senseless killing. Jackson’s third person view is crucial to the plot of the story because it allows the illumination of the fact that the villagers, led by Mr. Summers who had assumed the civic duty of conducting the lottery, are carrying on with a tradition of the lottery because “there’s always been a lottery” (239). When I first began reading the story I had no idea what Jackson was leading up to. As the community members come together they are portrayed as just people assembling for a quick affair that will only disrupt their lives for a short time. The anxiousness begins to build in the crowd as she writes of their nervous laughter and their quietness as the lottery is about to take place. Once the lottery is underway the readers can begin to get a sense from the villagers’ hesitation and uneasiness that the lottery may not be something that one wants to win and the pending outcome will not bring joy. Jackson’s point of view makes the story so powerful because she paints a picture of the lottery as being an ordinary part of life. The people don’t seem to see the evil in what they are doing. It’s a cruel and calculated act but they have just accepted as the norm because that’s the way they’ve always done it. In “The Lottery” Jackson writes about a point in the story, during the drawing of slips, where a man mentions that there are villages to the north where they are talking about ending the lottery and that...
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