A Critical Analysis of Shirley Jackson’s “the Lottery”

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Shirley Jackson’s major fascination was dark fiction. In most of her stories, her main topics are about hosts, witches and mysterious situations in which the characters have to get through. She wrote novels, short stories, and children’s books without living her fiction style out. "Life Among the Savages" (1953), "Raising Demons"(1957), a non-fiction prose "Witchcraft in Salem Village"(1956), "Road Through the Wall" (1948), "Hangsaman"(1951), and "The Bird`s Nest" (1954), are only a few works that she wrote. However, the story that made her name well known is “The Lottery” (1948). It is a short story in which some villagers are forced to participate in a lottery which enables them to survive. Jackson uses a deadpan passive tone, social irony, and the point of view is in third person objective. From the beginning until the end of the story, the narrator uses a deadpan and passive tone that does not change to express different emotions. Even though the story undergoes different changes, the narrator does not change the tone to make it more suspenseful or to give readers a signal of some shift in the story or in the characters’ attitude or temper. “When he arrived in the square, carrying the black wooden box, there was a murmur of conversation among the villagers, and he waved and called, “Little late today, folks””(121). Every person in the village knows the box and their mood changes when they see the box because the lottery is going to start. On the other hand, the narrator did not make any change toward the different perspectives that the story was taking place. The narrator is not very expressive. In fact, she does not make any change of humor during the entire story. In addition, the narrator’s tone shows a type of social preference toward the characters’ position in society. This is especially true during the time they are gathering to conduct the lottery. The children assemble first and then the boys, girls, women and finally the men. Social irony plays...
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