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"the Lottery" by Shirley Jackson

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"The Lottery", by Shirley Jackson is written in dramatic point of view accompanied by irony. Jackson's story examines mankind's tolerance of evilness and ignorance in a run-of-the mill kind of town. Setting, symbolism and characterization support the dramatic point of view but also foreshadow the opposite of what is to come.

The "lottery" lures the villagers out on a summer day to the town square to take part in their annual tradition. The town square is described to be where the "square dances, the teen-age club, and Halloween program" (121) all took place. The residents are described as normal common folk. As they assemble, discussions of the ordinariness of their lives rumble throughout the crowd. In this rumble, a sense of nervousness can be felt. Jackson doesn't tell of this, but the reader knows of the anxiousness of the anticipation leading to the lottery.

Although the just of the lottery is presumed to be obvious, the speaker describes the symbolism of the "splintered black box." The black box is said to be older than the oldest man in town but is kept because "no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box" (121). Thoughts and actions likes these validate the ignorance of people from generation to generation without the willingness to evolve.

Many characters are introduced in the story but the thoughts of these characters were omitted to conceal the outcome of the annual calamity. Ironically, Mr. Graves' name is a telltale pointing in the direction that the lottery will take. The protagonist of the story is Tessie Hutchinson, who rushes to the lottery not because she agrees but because it is tradition. When Tessie learns her fate; her attitude towards the lottery changes to one that it's not fair. Despite her protest, the winner gets the prize of a public stoning.

Dramatic point of view was an effective climax to writing this story; without it, the reader would've known the ending in the beginning. Shirley Jackson established the normality's of a village turned into murders through setting, symbolism and character. Jackson proves that sometimes, things aren't always what they seem and in the case of "The Lottery", it has become meaningless and the people, who participate, ignorantly follow, driven by their evilness.



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