The Lottery Essay

The story The Lottery was first published in The New Yorker magazine in the June 26, 1948 issue (Jackson). The setting of The Lottery takes place in a small town called ‘Jackson’. The author Shirley Jackson got her inspiration for The Lottery from various isolated village rituals that were carried out as an annual event. These traditions were often isolated to specific towns or areas of America and can be correlated to the lottery described in The Lottery. The events that took place before and during the lottery ceremony are very similar to those of some real-life communities.

The story unfolds with Mr. Summers making his way through town, calling people outside to come to gather around him at the square where he had set up all of his usual equipment for the lottery activity. The lottery in The Lottery was a very important annual tradition that allowed for all town members to participate. It had been going on for as long as anyone could remember, and it even took place when Jackson was just a little girl. The reader is introduced to various townsfolk that gather around Mr. Summers at the square, including Mr. , Mrs. , and Miss Hutchinson, Old Man Warner, The Dunbars, The Willard’s, and The Graves’.

After everyone gathered around him he begins explaining how different-sized paper slips were placed inside of small folded papers cups which represented the people of the town (Jackson). The pieces of paper were supposed to represent each person within the community but it turned out to be disastrous for most participants. Once the reader gets a general idea of the everyday activities that the townsfolk follow, The Lottery then takes a turn for a more sinister tone. The lottery is described as “The people stirred slightly” (Jackson), and it was very important to all the townspeople.

The story starts to get harder for many readers to approach when Mr. Summers announces that he had forgotten to bring change with him and asks if there was anyone in the crowd who had some small coins they could add himself so that everyone would have an equal chance at winning. The reader is taken aback by this announcement because there is an implication that when someone wins the lottery, that person will have negative consequences or be viewed badly by their community altogether. The prizes themselves also surprised me but not in a good way at all.

The winner of the lottery would only receive a sack of dried corn until next year’s lottery, but if they had a jackpot they would win a new suit for their husband and dresses for himself and his wife instead (Jackson). The story gets very interesting when The Lottery is carried out with stones that are supposed to represent papers with names on the inside. The reader continues following the story from the perspective of various townsfolk as The Lottery unfolds. In my opinion, The Lottery by Shirley Jackson is one of those stories where you either love it or hate it.

I enjoyed reading The Lottery because I thought that Shirley Jackson did a great job at writing something so dark in nature without going too far over the top. The story is very good at capturing the reader’s attention and it never gets boring or repetitive. The Lottery isn’t a story that everyone can enjoy but if you’ve read The Lottery I would recommend The Tooth by Jack Sheffield. The character’s in The Lottery are made up of various townsfolk from a small town called Jackson, The events surrounding The Lottery takes place there as well.

Shirley Jackson based her characters on real-life people who lived in similar situations according their town, she expands on this idea further by giving them distinct personalities that were different from the other characters in the story. The symbolism behind The lottery was widespread throughout the entire community and no one ever questioned its existence being that it had been around for as long as anyone could remember. The story focuses a lot on The Willard’s and The Graves who is first described by Shirley Jackson as “the Willard children, wearing faded dungarees, had serious faces” (Jackson).

The lottery was very important to many people but the characters in The Lottery didn’t seem to care much about The prize itself because it wasn’t something that would benefit them personally. The style of The Lottery is very unique because it switches between different perspectives constantly until The lottery begins. Shirley Jackson uses this technique so that the reader can know what each character is thinking rather than just one person’s perspective. Shirley Jackson also does a great job at building tension throughout the entire story and then releasing it all at The end.

The Lottery is a story that I would recommend reading because it’s short and has a very strong ending. The conclusion to “The Lottery” is another irony. Mrs. Hutchinson was the last to arrive at the square because she had forgotten what day it was. The children are yelling “Dirty old witch! She won! she won! ” The men are standing over Mr. Hutchinson‘s body, asking what they should do about it. The story ends with the townspeople in complete shock because The Lottery was something that was The most important thing in their lives yet it ended in The death of one of The members of the community.

The imagery used in this story is very descriptive and helps to build tension throughout the entire piece. Shirley Jackson uses strong descriptions when The lottery begins by saying “Now there were only eight”, this line makes you think that The lottery will be short when it turns out to be using stones to represent papers containing names inside them which takes much longer than The Lottery ever did. The imagery used to describe The characters was very interesting as well.

The reader knows almost nothing about The Willard children other than that their faces were serious and they were wearing dungarees, this gives The reader a strong sense of who the children are without describing them in an overbearing manner. The little girl’s name is mentioned once and she is simply called “the Hutchinson girl” (Jackson). Shirley Jackson uses descriptive language sparingly throughout The story because The townspeople were never described to give the reader a clear picture of what The people looked like, this could easily be done but Shirley Jackson chose not to which I believe makes the piece even more mysterious.

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