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The Lottery




“TheLottery” by Shirley Jackson is journalistic in narrating how thetreatment of Tess by people of the town during the lottery. “Themorning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of afull-summer day the flowers were blossoming profusely, and the grasswas richly green” (Jackson, 1948).The story commences with thewriter expressing no emotions such as pleasure or sadness. Thesentence mirrors the attitude of the villagers who view the lotteryas an ordinary event regardless of the loss of life expected. Thepeople do not manifest any emotions or panic, indicating that theexpected outcome is a socially accepted tradition that cannot bestopped.

Jacksonforeshadows the sad end of the story when she gives much attention tothe children picking and piling stones in the town center. Tess isset apart from the rest of the villagers by her late arrival, whichforeshadows her fate, “Thought we were going to have to get onwithout you.” The author does not allow the reader to makeacquaintances with the character.

Thetitle “” connotes good or bad luck and the readercannot imagine the looming death in the end. Jackson does not revelthe meaning of the story and the reader is shocked to learn about thepainful death of Tess Hutchinson who won the lottery. It is ironicalthat the winner is killed instead of getting a reward. The confusingmoment in the narrative is manifested when instead of rewarding thewinner she is stoned to death by neighbors and friends who do sowithout any remorse.

Theending transforms the story to a metaphor instead from realism.Jackson highlights the cruelty, violence, and hypocrisy of friendsand neighbors in the society. The author was very reflective and usedsocial dynamic relationships to express the horrors and fears of thetown’s inhabitants.


Jackosn,S. (1948). The lottery.