Essay on The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

Essay by saligaudjauneA, September 2004

download word file, 4 pages 4.4 2 reviews

Downloaded 107 times

Have you ever wondered how traditions can sometimes turn into brutal bloody rituals, in which some individuals participates without wondering if it's right or not? The short-story The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson, is a great work of fiction that shows us how a socially divided society can get into pointless violence and harm one of their own member. The story takes place on a warm morning of June in the town square of a small village. The villagers gather for the annual lottery and all the families draw a slip of paper from a box but only one has a black spot on it. Tessie Hutchinson receives the 'winning' slip and is stoned to death by the villagers, even if she argues that the drawing was unfair. With different literary devices, Shirley Jackson efficiently demonstrates how social class division and blind obedience to traditions was the cause of this despicable event.

First, the use of foreshadowing gives us clues to future events in the story but also helps understanding one of the main themes of the story: Social class division. Let us have a look at some examples of foreshadowing in the story: "Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones", which is a good clue to the stoning that will take place later on in the story while "They grinned at one another humourlessly and nervously" tells us that the 'prize', in this case stoning to death, of the lottery is not really joyful. But the most relevant example of this literary device is probably the foreshadowing of Tessie Hutchinson as the lottery victim. The town in The Lottery is undoubtedly male-dominant. First of all, the officials of the lottery, Mr. Graves, Mr. Summers and Mr. Martin and his son are all probably the wealthiest...