January 30th, 2013
The Luck of the Draw
In her short story, “The Lottery” (1948), Shirley Jackson gives the description of an annual lottery being held in a small town, sometime in the 20th century. During this period of time, a lottery means something very different than it does today. The story shows an entire community gathered together for the drawing of the lottery. The reasoning for the lottery is never told until the very end, when the “winner” is revealed. At that time, the story makes an unexpected twist, and the winner of the lottery is to be stoned by the people of the community. The irony of the theme in “The Lottery” is apparent through various happenings such as the meaning behind the lottery, the characterization of the lottery conductor, and the emotional change within Mrs. Hutchinson. In the modern world, a lottery is held to give large amounts of money or prizes to lucky winners that are randomly chosen upon entering. A lottery is often a very exciting and thrilling thing to win. However, in this story that is not the case. Ironically, this form of lottery does not randomly grant any person a gift or reward, but rather forces them to suffer a heinous act of death by stoning. Although the characters act nonchalant and relaxed throughout the drawing period, they are all hoping to not be chosen as the winner. In the end, the people of the small town stone the person that unfortunately draws the sheet of paper with the black dot. This lottery represents something completely different from what is normally expected. Usually lotteries are conducted to result in a reward or prize, not a death sentence to a random citizen. The lottery conductor, Mr. Summers, is described a cheery man that ran a large coal business and other various events in the town. However, when the lottery begins he does not act somber or subdued, but rather like it is a normal day in the community and shows no emotion at all. Most average people would show some sign of reverence...
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