The setting in a story helps to form the story and it makes the characters become more interesting. There are three main types of setting. The first is nature and the outdoors, second is objects of human manufacture and construction and the third is cultural conditions and assumptions. These three things help the reader to understand the characters better in Shirley Jackson’s ‘The Lottery’;. ‘The Lottery’; is started out by being described as ‘The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full summer day. ‘; The flowers are blooming and the children have just gotten out of school for the summer.
To the everyday reader this story starts out as a pleasant one but there is much more in store for the reader at the end of the story. Th setting leads the reader to believe that this is your normal kind of town with normal people. But it isn’t until the end that the reader finds out that winning the lottery might not be as good as they thought it was. The first type of setting that, Nature and the Outdoors plays a major role in ‘The Lottery’;. The most unusual thing about ‘The Lottery’; is that the author never tells the reader exactly where the story is taking place.
This means that the reader has to gather clues to try and figure out where this is all happening. The are only a few clues given to help the reader out. One clue is that the men are ‘Speaking of planting and rain, tractors and taxes’;. This gives us two answers to a couple of questions. Obviously by talking about planting this tells the reader that this town is possibly located in the Mid-West states. Another question that is answered is what time period this story is taking place. The men talked about tractors so this allows the reader to narrow the time period to 1935 and up. Tractors had not been invented before this time
Another mention of the time frame in this story is the clothes that the characters are wearing. ‘The women wearing faded house dresses and sweaters, came shortly after their men folk’;. This also shows the reader the time frame because it was not until after the 1930’s that women started to wear housedresses and sweaters. It actually started to become popular in the forties and fifties to wear housedresses. This gives the reader an almost exact time period, which helps to add to the fear in the story that such a thing could happen 40 or 50 years ago. The second type of setting is the Human manufacture and Human Construction.
The best example of this in the story is the lottery itself. The main basis of the lottery is to get rid of a member of the community. To do this a family is randomly chosen and from there a single-family member is chosen. It is all one big game of luck and chance to remove a member of the community. The lottery is starting to disappear in other towns but it still runs strong in this particular town. Jackson makes the entire setting spookier by not letting the reader find out the true meaning of the lottery until the very end of the story. This makes the reader question what the lottery is for and urges them to read on.
Once they find out the answer the reader then goes back and reanalyzes the setting. How such a morbid act can occur in a setting that seems much to the norm today. The third type of setting is the cultural conditions and assumptions. This is also apparent in ‘The Lottery’; in many ways. The first way was when Mr. Adams and the Old Man start to talk about the lottery being stopped in other villages. Old man Adams then starts to explain that there should always be a lottery and that ‘Lottery in June, Corn be heavy soon. ‘; This makes the reader believe even more that is serves a good purpose. Another example is the black box itself.
The black box that is being used for the lottery is not the original one but it is similar to it. Also wood chips used to be used for drawing but now there are more people in the village little slips of paper are used. The one thing that has not changed about the lottery at all is the fact that stones are still being used to kill the lucky winner of the lottery. These influences the fear in the setting because it is strange that out of all the traditions that could have been kept the one that seems the most horrifying and ironic was kept. In conclusion the setting of the story has a lot to do with the fear that runs throughout the story.
The fear that is in the entire story is one that is an unknown fear. The setting adds to this because the reader thinks and believes that the town is a normal town. The people in the town are all normally functioning people who have families and children. They all have jobs and prosper in the community. It is not until the end that the reader realizes that this so called normal community is not so normal. Even though these people function as normal individuals they are able to justify the stoning of another human being. This is what makes the setting seem to be as bizarre as something that you would see in a horror movie does.