Dramatic Irony In The Lottery

The short story The Lottery has a lot going on – subtle clues, foreshadowing, and dramatic irony – making it quite complicated. The theme is unquestionably one of the strongest in The Lottery, but there are several literary devices that make this story what it is. The most prominent device used in The Lottery is dramatic irony; the phrase ‘dramatic irony’ appears in the text itself. The other literary devices used to consist of symbolism, foreshadowing, and the use of setting.

The Lottery is a story about fate versus free will, which is shown through its strong theme, but it also shows that you should not judge people based on first appearances without getting to know them better because every character has several layers to their personality. The main conflict in The Lottery can be interpreted as being between Jack and Old Man Warner or Tessie and her husband, Howard. The motifs are the black box and the way things are passed down through generations over time. The Lottery begins with an introduction of Mr.

Summers who is “the man” who distributes the lottery tickets in The Lottery. The narrator states that Mr. Summers is “a thin, dried-up man” with a wife and two children who “worked the farm alone. ” The narrator also states that Mr. Summers has been the head of the lottery for “as long as anyone could remember. ” The paragraph ends with Mr. Summers telling people to hurry up when getting their tickets because they don’t want to keep everybody waiting, but they still want to give everyone enough time to get there when it’s time for the lottery to take place.

This introduction not only reveals some facts about Mr. Summer’s character (he seems like he doesn’t enjoy his job but does what his community needs him to do), but it is also foreshadowing for what is going to happen later on in The Lottery. Mr. Summers is a character that seems important because of the way the author describes him and his job, but he actually doesn’t have a big role – he just distributes tickets – which makes it ironic later when the story ends with him being killed by stoning.

The irony comes from how someone who was so guarded about running The Lottery suddenly has no problem killing people during The Lottery. The first paragraph also introduces some dramatic irony. The reader knows more about what’s going on than most of the characters do because of being an outside observer who can read the text and draw their own conclusions based off that information that they don’t know yet. For example, readers know that The Lottery takes place in The New World and The Old, but the characters don’t because they’ve never been anywhere else.

The reader also knows that The Lottery is a ritual of some sort involving stoning, which readers don’t know until the end (most of the characters think The Lottery is just about voting). The narrator states that “the lottery was conducted–as were the square dances, the teen-age club, the Halloween program–by Mr. Summers . . . ” This statement hints at how The Lottery will go later on in The Lottery by saying how it is led by Mr. Summer’s when this person who everybody trusts has already killed somebody before during The Lottery.

Another literary device used in The Lottery is foreshadowing. The first incident of foreshadowing happens in the second paragraph with what Mr. Summers says about The Lottery taking place every year, “as it had for as long as anyone could remember. ” The reader knows what The Lottery entails because they’ve already read a bit about The Lottery and the context clues throughout the rest of The Lottery, but most other characters’ first time doing The Lottery is going to be their last.

Not only does this statement set up what will happen later on in The Lottery, but it also shows how The Lottery has been around forever and always occurs so there’s no way of stopping it from happening again next year – which is why people have been okay with The Lottery for so long. The odds are always going to be the same because The Lottery never changes. The lottery is probably the last thing people who live in The Old and The New would ever expect to happen, but it’s been happening as long as anybody can remember so there’s no way of stopping The Lottery from occurring again next year.

The Lottery takes place every year which means that another character – who was introduced earlier on – will die next year at The Lottery. The second incident of foreshadowing happens a little bit later in The Lottery with an inconsequential sentence about how a man named Mr. Summers runs everything from Town Hall including “the postal service, the highway department. ” This statement doesn’t really contribute to The Lottery itself, but it mentions The Highway Department which will become important later on in The Lottery.

The lottery is set up like government elections where everyone gets a chance to vote for who they want to die, and The Lottery becomes more of an obligation than an event because The Lottery has always happened every year already. The reader knows that The Highway Department will be mentioned again later on, but the characters don’t because they’re new to this ritual. When Mr. Summers says “I’ve got my list here,” readers know what’s going to happen next which makes his statement ironic when The Townspeople kill Mr. Summers during The Lottery.

Readers also get some foreshadowing with the way Mrs. Hutchinson screams when The Townspeople kill her, “Her screams were shrill . . . ” The word shrill foreshadows that somebody is going to die a painful death in The Lottery which makes the end even more upsetting when all The Townspeople who participated in The Lottery feel relieved. The third incident of foreshadowing happens later on during The Lottery when Old Man Warner says something about The Old World and The New one after Mr. Summers asks whether or not anybody has an issue with The Lottery taking place.

By saying this, Old Man Warner states that some things are different between The Old World and The New one like how people used to live their lives before moving there including how they used to do The Lottery differently than The Lottery The Townspeople participate in today. The only reason The Townspeople killed Mr. Summers is because he didn’t tell The Townspeople what The Lottery was all about before The Lottery began which makes his statement ironic when The Townspeople kill him like they would’ve done years ago with the person who leads The Lottery.

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