The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson

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The Lottery is a short fiction written by Shirley Jackson. It is a story about a shocking tradition practiced by the people in certain town. Shirley ironically gives the lottery a bad meaning in her use of the word in this short story. In the story, the lottery is used for public stoning, contrary to what it originally means; winning a lot of money. The story focuses around a village during a ceremony they call the lottery which ensures there is enough rain for their crops. In the story, a number of literary devices are used by the author for example, irony, symbolism, foreshadowing, only to mention but a few.
In the Lottery, there is a hidden message behind the twisted story and the hidden message is how great the horrors of man’s evil could be. In the short story, Shirley uses irony as a function to build the unexpected and shocking ending of her story. In the process of the irony building the shocking and expected twist of the story, it also sets the tone of the people in the story. The people are very reluctant to reject an outdated tradition but the irony used by the author helps to show how this is very normal for the people.
The author uses irony from the beginning of the story. Shirley uses foreshadowing and irony at the beginning of the story by creating a normal and calm town. The author gives a picture of a typical normal town on a summer day which gives the reader no idea of what will happen in the story. She makes sure that the reader gets comfortable about the setting of the story as if there was nothing wrong that was to happen on that day. When one reads the first lines of the story, where it says, “Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets with stones” (237). This line is just immediately after the intro...

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...r, the author uses foreshadowing to warn the readers that something bad was bound to happen at the end of the story.
In conclusion, the Lottery is a short story about a town that practices an out dated tradition which they call the lottery. It is a shocking story whereby during the ceremony, a woman is stoned to death with the belief that it will ensure a bountiful harvest. The village depends on tradition until they fail to respect the human life because they stone the woman to death without any mercy.

Works Cited

Jackson, Shirley.The Lottery and Other Stories. New York:Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1992. Print.

Gioia, Dana and Kennedy, X.J. Literature: An Introduction to fiction, poetry, drama, and writing. New York: Pearson Longman Publishing, 2011. Print.
SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on The Lottery.” SparkNotes LLC. 2007. Web. 23 Feb. 2014.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how shirley jackson uses symbolism in the lottery to implicate the truth of the lottery through the setting, names, and objects.
  • Analyzes how shirley jackson uses foreshadowing in the lottery to warn the reader of disturbing events at the end of the story.
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