A Review of Shirley Jackson's Lottery

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Carolin Mateo

The Lottery

Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" is a story of a small town whose citizens are required to participate in a yearly "lottery". The reader soon finds, however, that unlike most lotteries this is not a lottery that you hope to win. Although it is not fairly clear who the main character of "The Lottery" is we learn that Tessie Hutchinson ends up being the dynamic character of the story. When she finds out that her husband, Bill Hutchinson, is the winner of this lottery she begins to complain saying that he did not have enough time to choose any paper he wanted. Bill, still not having a problem with the lottery, tells Tessie to shut up and they continue on. All of Tessie's life she has been peer pressured into thinking that the lottery was just a fun thing that the town had always done. It is not until she is declared the winner that her attitude changes about the lottery, and she learns that peer pressure can sometimes lead you to a position that you never wanted to be in. When Tessie Hutchinson arrives late to the lottery, admitting that she forgot what day it was, she immediately stands out from the other villagers as someone different and perhaps even threatening. Whereas the other women arrive at the square calmly, chatting with one another and then standing placidly by their husbands, Tessie arrives flustered and out of breath. The crowd must part for her to reach her family, and she and her husband endure good-natured teasing as she makes her way to them. On a day when the villagers’ single focus is the lottery, this breach of propriety seems inappropriate, even unforgivable; everyone comes to the lottery, and everyone comes on time. The only person absent is a man whose leg is broken. Although Tessie quickly settles into the crowd and joins the lottery like everyone else, Jackson has set her apart as a kind of free spirit who was able to forget about the lottery entirely as she...
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