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Losing by Winning the Lottery by Shirley Jackson Essay

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Losing by Winning the Lottery
The story by Shirley Jackson “The Lottery” was written in 1948; it describes a village getting ready for their annual lottery. The lottery is not what it seems to be and the writer does not give any additional information on the topic until the end of the narrative. The main achievement of this short piece is the suspense leading to the main idea and how the author incorporates the details.
Jackson starts by describing the day and how beautiful it is “the morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green” (1). Leading into the first paragraph the reader is not sure what the story is about but that it is a beautiful summer day. Jackson then introduces the groups of characters, “the children assemble first, of course” (1). She further explained that the children were recently out of school for the summer. The children were still talking about school and were beginning to play. Then there is mention that the boys are collecting rocks placing them into piles or stuffing them into their pockets “Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones” (1). There is no mention why the boys are filling their pockets or even why they are making piles; allowing the reader to believe that they are just being boys playing with rocks. The men of the village enter next, “surveying their own children, speaking of planting and rain, tractors and taxes” (1). Jackson also states that the men stood away from the pile of stones. Showing some significance but not explaining why. The women enter and some gossip is exchanged but mainly they join their husbands. When this happens the children are called over “the ...


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... lottery was their way of gathering a sacrifice for their village harvest; their actions seem excessive and morally wrong in their practice. The men, women and children are excited and ready to chase down and murder their selected winner of the lottery making her the loser in the end.
The suspense in this piece builds from the beginning to the end and the writer does not give the reader a hint of what is going on till the very end. Jackson kept her audience engaged throughout with the use of suspenseful techniques along with the mention of the stones, the black box and all the different characters. These components assisted in maintaining the atmosphere and kept the plot progressing. If the story was explained in detail from the beginning it would not have been as effective in the end.



Work Cited
Jackson, Shirley. “The Lottery”. Middlebury.EDU. Web. 29 Apr. 2014



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