Shirley Jackson's The Lottery and Kate Chopin's The Story of an Hour

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Shirley Jackson's The Lottery and Kate Chopin's The Story of an Hour

"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson, and "The Story of the Hour" by Kate Chopin, both have similarities and differences when it comes to the elements of literature. Particularly, when the authors use foreshadowing to manipulate the moods of the stories and add irony to cleverly deceive the reader. Both of these stories possess similarities and differences when it comes to their components of the story, specifically the authors' usage of elements of mood and the tone of irony.

In Shirley Jackson's 'The Lottery,' irony is a major theme. This story is about a town full of elitist snobs that are stuck on their tradition of a lottery, even though it is a grim ritual and rather detrimental to the people in the town. The characters are honoring a tradition that is handed down to them from former generations. The reader is led through the outwardly normal and charming little village, and is taken on a ride of ironic horror as they slowly grasp the annual fate of one the village?s inhabitants. The title ?The Lottery? implies a contest with a winner of some kind, like a sweepstakes. When in reality the winner is actually the loser or person that will die by stoning. At the beginning of this story, the main character, Mrs. Hutchinson, is in favor of the lottery. The atmosphere of the town is casual yet anxious. Mrs. Hutchinson arrives late because she ?clean forgot? what day it is. This seems quite impossible to any reader that anyone would forget a day like lottery day. Her procrastination is reasonable but her excuse is lame. Mrs. Hutchinson complains that her husband, Bill, ?didn?t have enough time to choose.? And that the results of the drawing were not fair. In these statements, she is implying that the other villagers had more time to choose, and in fact given an advantage over the Hutchinson family. In reality, time had little to do with the drawing of the ?slips of paper.? As soon as they hold the second drawing, Mrs. Hutchinson is chosen. This is the climax of irony of this story. Mrs. Hutchinson is chosen for the lottery. She is shocked and astounded, having believed that she couldn?t possibly be chosen for the lottery. She begs or mercy, but the townspeople are strict with keeping to their traditions and her pleas of mercy fall on deaf ears and she is stoned to death.


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...the mention of her health. However, in ?The Lottery? the reader knows that something bad will eventually happen, but the reader has no idea who the ill-fated winner is going to be.

I feel that ?The Story of an Hour? is a better example of the elements of irony and foreshadowing than ?The Lottery.? In ?The Story of an Hour? the author uses a writing style that is easy to follow and simple to understand. The plot is orderly and follows a sequential order of events. The imagery is vivid, but is it easy to understand and doesn?t confuse the reader. ?The Lottery? was not an adequate story. The foreshadowing was presented in an irksome fashion, and the language confused and baffled me. ?The Lottery? was difficult to follow, and I was unable to understand anything about it until I had completed the story. In closing, I feel that Kate Chopin did a superb job with ?The Story of an Hour? in reaching her audience on a level that made it simple to understand her story and to have a sense of perceptive knowledge of how the story would end.

Works Cited:

Jackson, Shirley. "The Lottery." The Harper Anthology of Fiction. Ed Sylvan Barnet. New York: HarperCollins, 1986. 862-868
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