StudyBoss » The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

In many stories, settings are constructed to help build the mood and to foreshadow of things to come. “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson is a story in which the setting sets up the reader to think of positive outcomes. However, this description of the setting foreshadows exactly the opposite of what is to come. In addition, the theme that we learn of at the end leads us to think of where the sanity of some human beings lies. The story begins with the establishment of the setting. To begin, Shirley Jackson tells the reader what time of day and what time of year the story takes place.

This is important to get the reader to focus on what a typical day it is in this small town. The time of day is set in the morning and the time of year is early summer. She also describes that school has just recently let out for summer break, letting the reader infer that the time of year is early summer. Shirley Jackson also seems to stress on the beauty of the day and the brilliance of nature. This provides the positive outlook and lets the reader relax into what seems to be a comfortable setting for the story.

In addition, the description of people and their actions are very typical and not anomalous. Children play happily, women gossip, and men casually talk about farming. Everyone is coming together for what seems to be enjoyable, festive, even celebratory occasion. However, the pleasant description of the setting creates a faade within the story. The setting covers the very ritualistic and brutally violent traditions such as the stoning of Mrs. Hutchinson, who dared to defy tradition. It is very apparent that tradition is very coveted in this small, simple town.

This can be proven by the ancient, black box used for the lottery and the significance of farming for the community. Farming is also the only known way of life because of tradition. The men in The Lottery are speaking of planting and rain, tractors and taxes. This is because the ritual performed in the story is supposed to have an effect on the harvest. Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon used to be a saying heard in that town. The abundance of their harvest supposedly depended upon their performing the ritual of the lottery.

Although it is implied that the abundance of their harvest depends wholly on cruel act of stoning a human being to death, there is evidence that not all in the community agree with the ritual. Children are an important focus in The Lottery. Jackson makes it easy for us to imagine their boisterous play and the children are described in depth. I think these children symbolize perceived states of happiness in the story. I also believe they are vital necessities in the story because they are taught and expected to carry the traditions.

For instance, someone gave little Davy Hutchinson a few pebbles” so that he will then be able to participate in the stoning of his own mother. In the story, many parts of the ritual had been changed or even long forgotten by most of the people. This fact in itself, along with a few other clues, tells me that not everyone agrees with it. One character says, seems like theres no time at all between lotteries anymore. This means that the lottery is much too frequent or should not even be done at all. I believe that many disagree with the practice of the ritual, I also think that the individual feels helpless in putting a stop to it.

Mrs. Adams mentions to Old Man Warner, that over in the north village theyre talking of giving up the lottery and that Some places have already quit the lotteries. He replies Pack of crazy fools and says, Theres always been a lottery. Although she does not say it in so many words, I find it obvious that she feels that the ritual should be put to an end. This in combination with the fact that many of the townspeople do not even remember the reasons behind the ritual has led me to the conclusion that they only continue the process for traditions sake.

It just goes to show that humans are creatures of habit and that sometimes we continue to participate in (or tolerate) harmful practices. This is simply because as individuals we feel powerless and unable to stand up against behaviors that have always been accepted. The setting has set us up for a shocking and deadly end. What seemed like a wonderful, joy-filled day ended with an unfortunate, tragic death. This is what makes this story so disturbing and horrifying but a wonderful work of literature art.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
StudyBoss » The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

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 theme in “The Lottery” is violence and cruelty. Violence and cruelty is a major theme because there is a lot of violence and cruelty in the world.

The Lottery has been read as addressing such issues as the public’s fascination with salacious and scandalizing journalism, McCarthyism, and the complicity of the general public in the victimization of minority groups, epitomized by the Holocaust of World War II. The Holocaust was very cruel and violent cause other people didn’t like certain people so they just kill them and their children and still now we have violence and cruelty with wars and people that hate each other. On the morning of June 27 of a recent year, the 300 villagers of an American village prepare for the annual lottery in a mood of excitement.

The horrible tradition of the lottery is so old that some of its ritual has been forgotten and some has been changed. Its basic purpose is entirely unremembered, but residents are present to take part in it. The children in the village created a “great pile of stones” in one corner of the stoning square. The civic-minded Mr. Summers has been sworn in and then he hands a piece of paper to the head of each family. When it is discovered the Hutchinson family has drawn the marked slip, each member of the family Bill, Tessie, and the children is given another slip.

Silence prevails as suspense hovers over the proceedings. After helplessly protesting the unfairness of the first drawing, Tessie finds that she holds the marked slip. Set in a clear space, desperately afraid, she feels the first pebbles hitting her as people, holding stones, push forward, “and then they were upon her. ” Jackson highlights human kind’s capacity to victimize others by having friends and family participates in the killings. In “The Lottery” “Jackson portrays the average citizens of an average village taking part in an annual sacrifice of one of their own resident”(Hicks 149).

So this theme will throw emotions and question morality. This story was very cruel because a woman can not back talk any man with out getting in trouble. People are living in this village are very cruel by playing the lottery by “selecting one individual at random from the village”(Oehlschlaeger 153). This is very ironic cause a peaceful and tranquil town where brutal and violent acts happen. “Individuals who are members of smaller families are more likely to be chosen as the sacrificial victim”(Oehlschlaeger 153).

When somebody is chosen the villagers believe, based on ancient custom, that someone has to be sacrificed for the good of the village even if that person has not done anything wrong. The violence in this story was strange why would a small village start doing a “tuneless chant” and the “ritual salute,” unless something bad will or might happen. 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 lack significant individuating detail, most critic’s 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. A peaceful town can be crazy with stupid customs like to be stone to death for the good of the village.

The villagers forgot the rest of the customs that the village once had so the villagers could have oppose the lottery or try to stop the killings instead of joining and throwing stones at that person. Why would anybody want to participate in something that violence and cruelty? Nobody feels bad after killing someone that they loved. This village is like a cult cause the villagers start singing a “tuneless chant” and a “ritual salute” and being sacrifice to honor there god. Anyone can be chosen to be stone to death even kids.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Leave a Comment