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The Lottery Analysis

1084 words - 5 pages

Not So Super Lotto

"If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you?" is a time old question parents ask their children. The question means, if everyone was doing some wrong doing, would you do it as well, or would you be strong enough to go against the crowd? This timeless question is addressed in the short story, "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson. The author thinks that anyone would race to “jump off that bridge” if his or her community decided it was necessary. The "lottery" is an age-old tradition in the community presented in the story where the whole town must draw from a box and whoever gets the piece of paper with a mark on it gets stoned to death. The lottery is a barbaric ...view middle of the document...

The fact that parents do not stop the boys from hoarding stones to throw at the winner shows that they encourage this type of behavior.
Jackson also uses foreshadowing when the villagers are hesitant to start the ceremony. When Mr. Summers asks for help with the black box at the start of the ceremony, the villagers are hesitant. Mr. Summers inquires, "'Some of you fellows want to give me a hand?' [and] there was a hesitation before two men...came forward." While the villagers treat the lottery as a normal thing, they are still nervous about it. One could equate this to a funeral. A funeral is a natural thing in our society, but many people feel uncomfortable at them. At this point in the story, the reader gets a minor sense that maybe the lottery is not a good thing, since the characters are not too excited about it.
Likewise, the author tips off the reader about the end of the story when she says that the villagers kept a distance between themselves and the box. The villagers kept themselves a ways away from the box, only approaching it when it was absolutely necessary, out of fear. For example, when a man named Adams was called up, he "disengaged himself from the crowd and came forward...reached into the black box and took out a folded paper...and went hastily back to his place in the crowd." This is the second passage in the story that keys the readers in that winning the lottery is a bad thing. If the lottery was a good thing, the villagers would be clamoring to choose from the box. The fact that the villagers hesitate walking up to the box hints that the box is lottery is unpleasant.
Another time Jackson foretells the ending is when she explains that people's moods are pleasant enough, but that they aren't in good spirits. The author says that the men had subdued smiles on their faces but none of them were in the mood for laughing when she writes, that the men's "jokes were quiet and they smiled rather than laughed." When people feel uncomfortable or sad, they do not laugh. They...

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