Though this story has a rich abundance of elements, Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" contains both horror and shock. The two are not mutually exclusive, for the surprise depends upon delaying the concluding information until the very end, and the horror is coincidental with the ritualized public murder. These two elements in particular are extremely important to discover as the reader is left with no doubt in their mind that doing anything without meaning can be harmful, and in this particular case, deadly. This is a perfect story to go over on any holiday occurrence or whenever you do something and have lost the meaning for doing it.
The setting of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" is a beautiful June day and it is out of keeping with the fact that what takes place on the town green is a ritual murder. The setting is one of the elements that make the story more horrifying. By using an incredible amount of irony, including the setting, the story is much more dramatic and powerful and more than drives the point home: that following blindly a tradition that no one seems to remember why they do it, can have drastic effects.
The irony in the setting reveals the purpose of the story. The story’s very outrageousness raises questions about unexamined assumptions in modern society. Do civilized Americans accept and act upon other vestiges of primitive ritual as arbitrary as the one Jackson imagines? Are we shackled by traditions as bizarre and pointless as the lottery in Jackson’s story? What determines the line between behavior that is routine and that which is unthinkable? How civilized in fact are we?
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dstuva | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator
Posted February 27, 2010 at 1:34 AM (Answer #2)
The essence of irony is opposition. The setting in Jackson's "The Lottery" is ironic because what the story suggests, and what the...
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