The Lottery

Topics: The Lottery, Short story, Stoning Pages: 3 (1085 words) Published: April 1, 2014
Literary Analysis Essay: The Lottery
“The Lottery,” written by Shirley Jackson, is a short story about a strange annual ritual that takes place in a small village in New England. At the beginning of the story the day is described as “clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green.” This pleasant sensory description leads one to believe that this will be a day of happiness. Every year on June 27th all the villagers gather around in the town square for the annual ritual of the lottery, which has been taking place for over seventy years. When reading this story, the purpose of the lottery is unclear until near the very end. The lottery is a ritual that was put in place to choose a human sacrifice to make the crops plentiful.. “Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon” (Jackson 224). This story makes use of many different literary elements including irony, symbolism, and various themes. Irony in this story starts with the title. “The Lottery presents a prototypical example of the surprise ending” (Du Bose, Thomas). It suggests that the winner of the lottery will receive some sort of reward when, in fact. the winner’s reward is being stoned to death. The true intention of the lottery is not revealed in the beginning. The villagers prepared for the ritual. Children gathered stones. The men began to gather around, and the women soon joined them. Before the lottery was declared open, “there was a great deal of fussing to be done” (Jackson 222), which leads one to believe that the villagers were excited and ready for the ceremony to begin. However, once the lottery begins, the mood becomes somber and the story indicates that the winner of the lottery is really no winner at all. Once the winner was known the villagers remembered the stones. “It isn’t fair, it isn’t fair, Mrs. Hutchinson screamed and then they were upon her” (Jackson 227). Symbolism is shown throughout this...

Cited: Du Bose, Thomas. “The Lottery”
Masterplots, Fourth Edition; November 2010, p1-3
Griffin, Amy A. “Jackson’s The Lottery”
Explicator; Fall99, Vol. 58 Issue 1, p44, 3p
Jackson, Shirley. “The Lottery” [220-227]
Perrines’s Story & Structure
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