Irony of The Setting in The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

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Irony of The Setting in "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson

The setting set forth by Shirley Jackson in the beginning of The Lottery

creates a mood of peacefulness and tranquillity. This setting also creates an

image in the mind of the reader, the image of a typical town on a normal summer

day. Furthermore, Shirley Jackson uses the setting in The Lottery to foreshadow

an ironic ending.

First, Shirley Jackson begins The Lottery by establishing the setting.

To begin, she tells the reader what time of day and what time of year the story

takes place. This is important to get the reader to focus on what a typical day

it is in this small town. The time of day is set in the morning and the time of

year is early summer. She also describes that school has just recently let out

for summer break, letting the reader infer that the time of year is early summer.

The setting of the town is described by the author as that of any normal rural

community. Furthermore, she describes the grass as "richly green" and that "the

flowers were blooming profusely" (196). These descriptions of the surroundings

give the reader a serene felling about the town. Also, these descriptions make

the reader feel comfortable about the surroundings as if there was nothing wrong

in this quaint town.

Upon reading the first paragraph, Shirley Jackson describes the town in

general. The town is first mentioned in the opening paragraph where she sets

the location in the town square. She puts in perspective the location of the

square "between the post office and the bank" (196). This visualizes for the

reader what a small town this is, since everything seems to be centralized at or

near the town square. This is also key in that the town square is the location

for the remaining part of the story. The town square is an important location

for the setting since the ending of the story will be set in this location.

Also, Shirley Jackson creates a comfortable atmosphere while describing

the residents of the town. First, she describes the children gathering together

and breaking into "boisterous play"(196). Also, the children are described as

gathering rocks, which is an action of many normal children. She described the

men as gathering together and talking about "planting and rain, tractors and

taxes"(196). Finally, she describes the women of this community as "exchanging

bits of gossip"(196) which is a common stereotype of women. She creates a mood

for the reader of the town and residents of this town on a normal summer morning.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes the image of a typical summer town in the mind of the reader.
  • Opines that the ending of the story will be set in this location.
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