Compare And Contrast The Lottery And The Possibility Of Evil By Shirley Jackson

968 Words4 Pages
Many authors have a particular style that is threaded through all of their work. This is the case with the short stories “The Lottery” and “The Possibility of Evil” by Shirley Jackson. The stories themselves are very different, but there are many common threads between the two. The two stories share a theme, action for the greater good. Both stories have events that the person or people committing the action believe must happen. These actions may harm others, but it is for the betterment of the world in their opinion. Jackson uses similar settings, well thought out symbolism, and sudden plot twists in both stories to support the theme of action for the greater good. Though the setting of “The Lottery” may not be a head turner at first mention,…show more content…
The main character, Miss Strangeworth, embraces the small town she lives in. She is proud of the fact that she knows everyone, and that she has never left the town. In “The Possibility of Evil,” Jackson writes, “…she sometimes found herself thinking that the town belonged to her” (1). This line is very important because it ties the town to Miss Strangeworth’s actions throughout the story. She felt the need to write anonymous, rude letters because she believed it was for the betterment of her small town. In “‘The Possibility of Evil’: Key to Shirley Jackson’s Fiction,” John Parks writes, “This is her secret combination to keeping her town sweet and clean, her private war with the forces of evil” (321). Miss Strangeworth feels it is her responsibility to deliver these cruel messages to her neighbors because of her family history in the town. Once again, Jackson sets the scene in a small, sweet town, but below the surface there is evil lurking…show more content…
The author does not have much time to make a point like in a novel, so they must implore the use of symbols. There are several symbols in “The Lottery.” The first example is in the characters of the story. The names and personalities that Jackson chose for these specific characters have more to them than what meets the eye. Mr. Summers, “a round-faced, jovial man,” is the face of the lottery (Jackson 260). He is cheerful and takes the actions he must organize rather lightly, considering he is organizing the death of a neighbor. His assistant, Mr. Graves, is quiet and stands to the side. Readers can quickly see the contrast in names and actions that Jackson is trying to portray. In “Jackson’s ‘The Lottery,’” Amy Griffin describes the symbolism on a deeper level. She
Open Document