Written by Shirley Jackson, “The Lottery” is a short story about a town that hosts an annual lottery that decides which person is stoned by the rest of the town. Jackson slowly and subtly builds the suspense throughout the story, only resolving the mystery surrounding the lottery at the very last moment, as the townspeople surround Tessie with their stones. The symbolism utilized helps demonstrate the overall significance of the story, such as the lottery itself. The lottery shows the way people desperately cling to old traditions, regardless of how damaging they may be. In addition, it can show how callous many will act while staring at a gruesome situation, until they become the victims.
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?
One can immediately sense that this is not the same lottery as the lottery played in the 21st century because people do not complain if they won the lottery. In the following round, each member of the Hutchinson’s family come up and draw another piece of paper. Unfortunately, Tessie received the one with a black dot on it. The villagers each grab a stone, including her own family and stone her to death (Shmoop Editorial Team). The most evident theme in “The Lottery” is the danger of blindly following tradition.
Mrs. Hutchinson is presented as a blind follower of old tradition, a strong rebellious character and a selfish and careless person in the society. At the beginning of a story, Jackson presents Mrs. Hutchinson a devotee to the old tradition. When Mrs. Hutchinson comes hurriedly to participate in the lottery, she seems very excited. When she arrived little late and said, “Clean forgot what day it was”, the people nearby her laughed softly (Jackson 904-905). Even though she didn’t arrive at the lottery holding place on time she couldn’t reject or unfollow the tradition.
She is the wife of Bill Hutchinson and the winner of the lottery. In the beginning, she arrived late to the lottery because she forgot what day it was. “‘Thought my old man was out back stacking wood,’ Mrs. Hutchinson went on, ‘and then I looked out the window and the kids was gone, and then I remembered it was the twenty-seventh and came a-running’” (Jackson 375). This is the foreshadowing that she would be the winner in the lottery because her appearance is different to all the other villagers. She is the only one, who came late in the lottery while all the other villagers have already gathered on the square.
While everyone else seems to be anxious about the day, Tessie seems rather enthusiastic. Tessie even exclaims that she “remembered it was the twenty-seventh and came a-running '” (Jackson 373). She seems to see the lottery as “one great lark” and urges her husband to go pick a paper when his name is called (Yarmove 1). For a moment, one can assume that the nervousness in the story is just because everyone wants to win due to Tessie’s excitement, as she seems to be a main character, and is so enthusiastic about the day while to others, you can see that this is not something that they really wanted to take place in in the first place. There are a few members of the town who seem to want nothing to do with the lottery; one of those being Janey, whose husband is unable to participate due to a broken leg (Jackson 373).
The setting and irony of the story starts when the day is described as a bright sunny day and all the towns’ people are looking forward for the Lottery on the big day, but not knowing the big day ends in death. Mrs. Hutchinson, as is seen later, is the only one who rebels against male domination, although only unconsciously. "She tapped Mrs. Delacroix on the arm as a farewell and began to make her way through the crowd" (318). The word "farewell" is used as foreshadowing to the climax of the story (318). Normally when a person enters a crowd of people they are greeted, but not Mrs. Hutchinson for she is obviously “leaving.” Although they are gathering for a lottery drawing there is an air of nervousness about the event.
The fact that the people gather and discuss everyday issue prior to the start of the lottery all point to the blind tradition of selecting some to be stoned to death. The author also points out in her story that no one knew when or why the tradition of the lottery began. Even not knowing Tessie Hutchinson, at first had no issues with the annual event. It was only when she “won” the lottery that she developed the point of view that was bias or judgmental. Mrs. Hutchinson protests the process of the lottery and the town’s methods, “It isn’t fair, it isn’t right” Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her.” (Kennedy & Gioia, 2013, pp.
Shirley Jackson’s renowned short story “The Lottery” is one of the most recognized short stories today as it draws people in due to the work’s unexpected ending. Centered in a small, unnamed town, “The Lottery” follows the townspeople throughout their annual lottery process that is performed with the same level of regard as the school dances. Throughout the story the ‘prize’ of the lottery is not revealed until the moment in the story’s conclusion in which the protagonist, Tessie Hutchinson, is hit in the head with the first of many rocks after drawing the marked slip of paper revealing that to win the lottery is to be stoned by the community (Jackson 673-679). This paper presents an analysis of the story, as furthered and supported by various
Mr. Summers, the man drawing the “winning” ticket from the box, noticed Tessie arriving late and states “Thought we were going to have to get on without you (567),” which is predictive about Tessie’s fate. Jackson produces suspense through the arrival of Tessie Hutchinson. Another explain of suspension being built in “The Lottery” was when Mr. Summers asked, “Watson boy drawing this year (568)?” Usually the head of the family, the father or husband, draws for his family. The tall boy in the crowd answered “I’m drawing for m’mother and me.” No reason was given for why Mr. Watson wouldn’t draw as all the others husbands and fathers do, which suggests that Mr. Watson may have been last year’s