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Point of View in Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

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Length: 572 words (1.6 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Yellow      
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Point of View in The Lottery


Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" uses the third-person dramatic point of view to tell a story about an un-named village that celebrates a wicked, annual event. The narrator in the story gives many small details of the lottery taking place, but leaves the most crucial and chilling detail until the end: the winner of the lottery is stoned to death by the other villagers. The use of the third-person point of view, with just a few cases of third-person omniscient thrown in, is an effective way of telling this ironic tale, both because the narrator's reporter-like blandness parallels the villagers' apparent apathy to the lottery, and because it helps build to the surprise ending by giving away bits of information to the reader through the actions and discussions of the villagers without giving away the final twist.

"The Lottery" is primarily told in the third-person dramatic point of view, but on occasion the narrator becomes omniscient to divulge information to the reader that which is commonly known to the villagers. In paragraph 7, for example, the ...

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