In “The Lottery”, Jackson wrote about a special tradition of a small village. June 27th was warm and sunny, and it gave the impression like nothing could possibly go wrong. Everyone knows the lottery as an exciting thing, and everybody wants to win, but this lottery is unlike any other. This lottery was actually the tradition of stoning of an innocent villager; that year it was Tessie Hutchinson. Though the horrific ending was not expected, throughout the story Jackson gave subtle hints that this was not an average lottery. Jackson foreshadowed the death of Tessie Hutchinson with stones, the black box, and the three legged stool; she showed that unquestioning support of tradition can be fatal.
The stones played of one the largest parts in foreshadowing and symbolism. The reader can overlook the significance of the stones because in the beginning they did not seem out of the ordinary. Children were playing and collecting stones prior to the lottery, but the reader has no idea that the stones are going to be used to kill Tessie Hutchinson. Jackson started foreshadowing with a subtle hint, “Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets with stones, and the other boys soon followed in his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones” (Jackson). Jackson explained that the children were picking up smooth stones, not jagged, spiky rocks, which could kill a person faster. Although picking up smooth rocks may seemed like a trivial detail, Jackson was actually foreshadowing the ending. Jackson showed the regularity of the stoning, “... eventually made a great pile of stones in one corner of the square and guarded it against the raids of the other boys” (Jackson). The boys treated as if it was a game; the boys felt the need to gua...
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...he villagers would never forget the stoning.
Throughout the story, Jackson shows, with the use of symbolism and foreshadowing, that blindly following a tradition can have horrific consequences. All the objects connect with the ending. Since the villagers unquestionably accepted the tradition, they have allowed murder to become embedded in their town.
Jackson, Shirley. The Lottery. New York: Popular Library, 1949. Print.
Kennedy, X. J., and X. J. Kennedy. The Bedford Guide for College Writers: With Reader, Research Manual, and Handbook. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2005. Print.
Nebeker, Helen E. "'The Lottery': Symbolic Tour de Force." American Literature 46.1 (Mar. 1974): 100-107. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Christopher Giroux and Brigham Narins. Vol. 87. Detroit: Gale Research, 1995. Literature Resource Center. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.
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In literature there are many different critical views, in which all of them have very distinctive ideas and beliefs. The value of these critical views is decided by the reader and may be different to each one. When a reader approaches a work of literature they bring their own views and experiences with them, so each reader will read each story differently. And even the same reader will never read the same story the same way twice due to things that may have changed in his or her life. In Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” (509-15) and Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path” (568-74) one reader my feel sympathy while another does not fill anything. So what is the “correct” response to these stories?
Toward the finale of the short story, Shirley Jackson, the author of “The Lottery” declares, “Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the black box, they still remembered to use stones” (873). Many of the residents display no knowledge of the lottery and only participate because of tradition. In fact, only Old Man Warner recollects the authentic purpose of the lottery. He furnishes some insight behind the tradition of the lottery by declaring, “Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon” (Jackson 871). Old Man Warner reveals the original reason for holding the lottery, but Jackson clearly demonstrates that the original purpose no longer exists. The villagers comprehend the procedure of stoning the victim but nothing else. Nick Crawford articulates in an easy about “The Lottery,” “The most disturbing thing about Tessie Hutchinson’s unexpected demise is its...
In Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” the theme of the story is dramatically illustrated by Jackson’s unique tone. Once a year the villagers gather together in the central square for the lottery. The villagers await the arrival of Mr. Summers and the black box. Within the black box are folded slips of paper, one piece having a black dot on it. All the villagers then draw a piece of paper out of the box. Whoever gets the paper with the black dot wins. Tessie Hutchinson wins the lottery! Everyone then closes in on her and stones her to death. Tessie Hutchinson believes it is not fair because she was picked. The villagers do not know why the lottery continues to exist. All they know is that it is a tradition they are not willing to abandon. In “The Lottery,” Jackson portrays three main themes including tradition, treason, and violence.
Jackson is trying to prove that in small towns, tradition means everything and is a way to link families and generations. However, at the same time, the author is also trying to shed light that not all traditions are worth preserving. The acceptance of the ritual murder lottery has become engrained in the town fabric. The ordinary residents of the town have no reason to kill their own peers other than by tradition. No one in Jackson’s story stops to question their judgment on wh...
The Lottery is an amazing work of fiction not only because of its extraordinary twist on the concept of tradition, but for its classic irony and impeccable use of symbolism. The Lottery questions whether or not tradition should be respected for what it is or evolve to suit new generations. When asked the purpose of writing The Lottery, Shirley Jackson responded that the story was "to shock the story's readers with a graphic demonstration of the pointless violence and general inhumanity in their own lives." (237) Jackson was a true visionary as a female author who created a thought provoking and alarming story to readers in a time when tradition was still heavily weighted in society.
The moral of the story is the harsh traditions that people faced in society. Shirley Jackson expressed negative tradition throughout the story. The villagers are controlled by an outdated tradition, which controls the people life either to live or die. Many people go through hard times in their life without knowing their consequences, and the characters are suffering from pain they do not fight against it. When the narrator says “Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones” (262) the stone symbols how the people suffer in pain, death and the goal in society is everyone is equal. In addition, “The Lottery” symbolizes luck and the slim chances of a person to
Why would a civilized and peaceful town would ever suggest the horrifying acts of violence can take place anywhere at anytime and the most ordinary people can commit them. Jackson's fiction is noted for exploring incongruities in everyday life, and “The Lottery”, perhaps her most exemplary work in this respect, examines humanity's capacity for evil within a contemporary, familiar, American setting. Noting that the story’s characters, physical environment, and even its climactic action lacks significant individuating detail, most critics view “The Lottery.” As a modern-day parable or fable, which obliquely addresses a variety of themes, including the dark side of human nature, the danger of ritualized behavior, and the potential for cruelty when the individual submits to the mass will. Shirley Jackson also addresses cruelty by the citizen’s refusal to stand up and oppose “The Lottery.” Violence and cruelty is a major theme in “The Lottery.”
“The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson has been criticized, but its longevity and durability prove it stands the test of time. In the article, “Jackson’s The Lottery,” the author A.R. Coulthard finds a deeper meaning in the story which other critics have not. Coulthard believes the story is a “parable of the evil inherent in human nature” rather than “an assault on mindless cultural conformity,” as other critics have suggested (Coulthard 226). Coulthard shows how something that most likely began as a primitive and ignorant way to ensure prosperity, evolved into a complete need for sanctioned violence and murder. Coulthard offers valid points to support her argument.
The narrator of the story and its point of view are important to understand the theme of the story. Jackson does not mention who is the narrator of the story, but it seems the narrator is a woman who is Jackson herself, and she is part of the society because she knows the townspeople’s character and the event that happens in the town. Although the narrator is part of the society, she seems to be a trustworthy narrator. She tells the story in third point of view with an objective omniscience. She does not bias to any character and describes the story based on what she sees. The point of view in the story is important because it leads the reader to think the reason why the townspeople conduct such a horrible tradition which is one part of the theme of the story. The theme might change if the narrator tells the story in different point of view because she will not tell the story in objective view.
Shirley Jackson takes great care in creating a setting for the story, The Lottery. She gives the reader a sense of comfort and stability from the very beginning. It begins, "clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green." The setting throughout The Lottery creates a sense of peacefulness and tranquility, while portraying a typical town on a normal summer day.
"The Lottery" is a short story that shows just how disturbing the human mind can be at times. As the story proceeds it builds the reader up till the end where what you thought was going to happen did not turn out that way. But is that not how our lives are portrayed? Do we not build ourselves up to society believing what they say and do until the matter is put into our hands? Mrs. Hutchinson was a follower of society just like we are. Everyday was the same routine and every year she played the lottery just like all of the other town people. But this year would be a very different year for Mrs. Hutchinson because her chance at the lottery was about to happen. Now as a reader in this day, we would think of the lottery to be a great prize to receive but not during the days of these town people.
"The Lottery" begins with a description of a bright and serene setting. The morning the event took place "was clear and sunny, with a fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green" (Jackson 315). Just out for their summer break, the children are the first to gather in the town square. The young boys were active in their play and begin to gather stones in their pockets. Three boys, Bobby Martin, Harry Jones and Dickie Delacroix make a pile of smooth, round stones and "[guard] it against the raids of other boys" (316). Meanwhile, the little girls of the town had nothing to do with such youthful labor. They "stood aside, talking among themselves, looking over their shoulders at the boys"(316). Society expects females at a young age to "remain outside of the work force and dependent on their working husbands when they grow up" (Kosenko 32). The young boys were collecting stones for the savage murder to take place in the town square, while the girls stood aside and let the boys assemble the supplies needed for the day's event.
The story of “The Lottery” is a dark tale that gives the reader a window into a community blighted by an tradition propagated by ignorance; sending a message that reverberates with many events, ideas, and observations throughout the annals of time. Written by the great Shirley Jackson, this fable exemplifies how delusion and illogical thinking led to the terrifying and morose ending of Tessie Hutchinson's existence. Shirley Jackson was well known in her lifetime, but not necessarily as the literary master she is hailed as today. Jackson had great interest in the culture of witchcraft, and deeply incorporated this knowledge into one of her first short stories: “The Lottery.” While this influence greatly improved the haunted tone of the story, it also spawned various rumors regarding Shirley Jackson herself, being a reclusive bookish woman interested in the dark arts. However, just as the “witches” of Salem were mercilessly murdered for ambiguous reasons, so too was Tessie Hutchinson. Shirley Jackson saw the reflection of these poor souls within our very lives, and channeled their sorrowful essence into a meticulous story that is as moving as it is disturbing.
Winning vast amounts of money can make anyone slaphappy, but unfortunately this type of wager won’t be discussed in Shirley Jacksons “The Lottery.” Jackson catches the reader’s attention by describing a typical day by using words such as “blossoming, clear and sunny skies” to attract the reader into believing a calm and hopeful setting which eventually turns dark. In this short story Jackson tells a tale of a sinister and malevolent town in America that conforms to the treacherous acts of murder in order to keep their annual harvest tradition alive. Jackson exposes the monstrosity of people within this society in this chilling tale. She allows the reader’s to ponder and lead them to believe that the lottery is actually a good thing; till she implements foreshadowing, to hint at the dreadfulness behind the lottery and its meaning. My goal in this paper is to discuss why Jackson’s “The Lottery” is a portrayed as a horror story, and the importance the townspeople used to glorify ritualistic killings, to appease to an unseeable force in return of good harvest for the upcoming year.
The townspeople seem to have mixed emotions about the lottery; they fear it yet on a very barbaric level they enjoy it. By standing "away from the pile of stones," and keeping their distance from the black box, the villagers show their fear of the lottery (Jackson 863). However, once they find out who is going to be stoned, Tessie Hutchinson, they seem to actually enjoy the stoning. One villager picks up a stone so big she can barely carry it; someone even gives Tessie’s youngest son a few pebbles to throw at his mother. Their overall attitude about the stoning is summed up by the phrase "and then they were...