The Lottery

Topics: Short story, The Lottery, Shirley Jackson Pages: 3 (872 words) Published: November 18, 2013

The Lottery

On a clear morning, June 27th, the townspeople, men, women, and children begin to assemble for the lottery which is to begin at ten in the morning. The opening paragraphs completely mask the underlying darkness of this short story. As the reader progresses throughout the story, these deeper elements of the story become evident. "The Lottery" successfully combines elements of horror, irony, hypocrisy, and tradition in a way that fulfills Carver’s criteria of a story that exemplifies both menace and tension. Shirley Jackson manipulates the reader into believing the lottery is just another activity taking place in an average small town. This enables the reader to become completely engaged in the story and become even more emotionally troubled when the reality and true horror of the lottery is revealed. In this small town, this type of horrific violence has seemed to become habitual. The way Jackson uses children in this story really gripped me personally as a reader. In our society, children are viewed as innocent as well as very impressionable. In this story, children are viewed at an equal playing field, both in the sense that they have the same chance at “winning” the lottery as well as having the same amount of responsibility as others to stone the winner. The scene that troubled me the most was the scene where young Davy Hutchinson was too young to even take out a piece of paper by himself. Davy put his hand into the box and laughed. “Take just one paper,” Mrs. Summers said. “Harry, you just hold it for him” (Jackson, 1242). This bit of dialogue how Jackson uses children to portray the true horror of the story. Jackson builds on the theme of menace by creating a deeply ironic suburban setting. The town in which the story takes place is described to be very similar to any other town where the townspeople are all friendly and familiar with each other’s lives while the kids enjoyed, well just being kids and playing outside. The irony in this...
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