The Irony in "The Lottery"

Topics: Short story, Comedy, Literary technique Pages: 3 (502 words) Published: March 27, 1997
The Irony in 'The Lottery'

Shirley Jackson wrote the story 'The Lottery.' A lottery is typically thought of as

something good because it usually involves winning something such as money or prizes. In

this lottery it is not what they win but it is what is lost. Point of views, situations, and the

title are all ironic to the story 'The Lottery.'

The point of view in 'The Lottery' is ironic to the outcome. Jackson used third

person dramatic point of view when writing 'The Lottery.' The third person dramatic

point of view allowed the author to keep the outcome of the story a surprise. The

outcome is ironic because the readers are led to believe everything is fine because we do

not really know what anyone is thinking. This point of view enables the ending to be


The situations in 'The Lottery' are ironic. The author's use of words keeps the

reader thinking that there is nothing wrong and that everyone is fine. The story starts by

describing the day as 'clear and sunny'(309). The people of the town are happy and going

on as if it is every other day. The situation where Mrs. Hutchinson is jokingly saying to

Mrs. Delacroix 'Clean forgot what day it was'(311) is ironic because something that is so

awful cannot truly be forgotten. At the end of the story when Mrs. Hutchinson is chosen

for the lottery, it is ironic that it does not upset her that she was chosen. She is upset

because of the way she is chosen. She shows this by saying 'It isn't fair, it isn't right' (316).

The situation is extremely ironic to the story.

The title of the story 'The Lottery' is ironic. By reading the title of the story the

reader may think that someone is going to win something. In actuality when the reader

gets to the end of the story, he finds just the opposite to be true. Jackson shows every day

as if it is any other summer day. Jackson foreshadows the events to come by writing:

School was recently over for the...

Cited: Jackson, Shirley. 'The lottery ' Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing. Ed. Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell. Third Ed. Fort Worth: Harcourt, 1997. 309-16.
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