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The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

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The Lottery By: Shirley Jackson

Summary: The Lottery happens in June every year in a small village of about 300 people. It’s a tradition held annually for well over 80 years and Mr. Summers who oversees several civic activities in the community like square dances, teenage club, and the Halloween program as well as the Lottery. The Lottery normally starts around ten o’clock in the morning and is finished around noon, the townspeople gather at the center of the town. A small old black wooden box is used to shuffle and pass out slips of paper out to the townsfolk, the various head of house-holds line up to be dealt a small hand of fate. A lot of the original stuff that came with the small black wooden box has been long since lost, and the box too was shabby looking after many years of use. After some commotion Mr. Summers declared the lottery ‘opened’ and several list were gathered. The lists had family’s names and the name of each head of household on the list, and each person drew for each family. After everybody had drawn a slip of paper out of the box and once the last slip of paper was drawn Mr. Summers allowed everyone to open all at once. All the slips of paper are blank except for one piece that has a large dark dot scratched in heavy pencil on the piece of paper.

After the lottery was conducted all the children, the women of the town and all the gathered around the lottery winner which was Tessie Hutchinson. And then the towns-people encircled her and descended upon her with stones in hand. The people do this brutal ritual in hopes of guaranteeing a plentiful harvest.

Analysis: In Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery she used the setting effectively to distract the reader from what was actually happening in the town during the Lottery. The village does this ritual every year to ensure good crops. Examine the children and how innocently the author presented them in story just before the ugly truth was revealed. Look at the towns-people who participated in the lottery, and how seemingly a normal activity allows the reader to perceive a more relaxed atmosphere within the story. Examine how the towns-people react at the thought of ending the Lottery. Shirley Jackson leads the reader to an unexpected ending because most of the story up until the plot twist was pretty predictable which is why the ending was so surprising.

The children in story were some of the first people Jackson describes as the villagers began to assemble in town center. She mentions the time of year is after school has let out for the summer. She then mentions the way the children were assembling before the lottery takes place, “They tended to gather together quietly far a while before they broke into boisterous play.”

Jackson followed up the playful gathering and describes how the boys scramble around to gather smooth stones before the lottery commences. The Author describes the little girls talking amongst themselves while glancing over their shoulder as the boys gather stones. Bobby Martin is portrayed as an innocent child collecting rocks, playing, and getting dirty just in time to fall in line between his father and his brother in line for the lottery.

The men and women of the village are going about life as if it’s any ordinary day in late July. Shirley Jackson further tells the reader about the women are dressed in faded casual clothes, and how the women casually began

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