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The Lottery by Shirley Jackson Essay Sample

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❶Either they are concerned with identifying specific items of folklore in works of literature, or they attempt to interpret the use of folklore as integral to the meaning of particular literary creations.

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson Essay Sample

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The Lottery Thesis Statements and Important Quotes

Jackson does this to create a less serious atmosphere and reflect the attitudes of the community. Instantly, the boys are collecting rocks used to kill the lottery winner at the end of the story. This is an annual thing that the kids do because they have been raised and taught to do so. They can no longer see it as wrong or feel remorse. The constant exposure to violence results in less physiological reactivity to other violent actions going on around them Linz 1. The killing of the villagers is the violence going on.

Collecting stones has become a ritual that they believe is right, because it is what they have been raised to do, even though it is wrong. An example is at the end of the story when Mrs.

When they are repeatedly exposed to violence they are less depressed and enjoy the material more with constant subjection Linz 2. The story goes on to talk about the families that are attending this so called lottery. Women have been known to rarely work outside the house and live their lives caring for their husbands and children while taking care of their home.

Most males are prevailed as the dominant gender. The women are seen on a lower status Gender Prejudice 1. The lottery seems to be run mostly by the men of the town. They are the ones that are in charge of the black box and most of the ceremony. For example, the reason that the lottery exists is never explained. This forces the reader to think more carefully about the story and supply many of the answers. Because the story of "The Lottery" holds back on revelation of what is happening so long it is vital that it uses foreshadowing to prepare the reader.

The reader has to feel the cohesion of the story in ways that are easy to miss in the first reading. Without this, the end of the story will feel far more like being blindsided than it does a twist. The first example of foreshadowing in "The Lottery" takes place in the second paragraph. There are many signs of the tension of the day throughout the story, but most of them more subtle than piles of rocks.

The men smile rather than laugh and moments of hesitation fill this story. This creates an undercurrent of dread which is the core of this story and becomes even more powerful when the reader feels those reactions without knowing he or she is feeling it. The choice of the author to not explain this is one of the most important choices in the story. Perhaps the most interesting of the theories on the lottery's meaning is the simple idea of the scapegoat.

The basic idea of the scapegoat has existed since the early days of Judaism. In that tradition it was literally a goat, but the idea is to sacrifice a single person for the sins of the society is generally how it has been used metaphorically.

Beyond this literal idea of being sacrificed for the sins of others is a more general idea that people need to have someone to blame or hate. The idea being that by being able to simply heap all of their aggression onto one person they are able to free themselves of it for another year.

Beyond that of the scapegoat and humankind's basic nature, the other theme of this story is one of tradition. Specifically, it is commenting on those things that people do simply because that is what has always been done. Delacroix, about the household chores that almost made her miss the lottery. Although everyone appears to agree that the annual lottery is important, no one seems to know when it began or what its original purpose was.

Summers reads off an alphabetical list of names, the heads of each household come forward to select a folded slip of paper from an old black wooden box. Bill Hutchinson draws the paper with the black mark on it, and people immediately begin speculating about which Hutchinson will actually "win" the drawing.

Each member of Bill's family then draws a slip from the box. Tessie selects the paper with the black mark on it, and she vigorously protests the unfairness of the drawing. The townspeople refuse to listen to her, and as the story ends they begin to pelt her with the stones they have gathered.

The principal themes of "The Lottery" rely on the incongruous union of decency and evil in human nature. Frazer's anthropological study of primitive societies, The Golden Bough , many critics observe that the story reflects humankind's ancient need for a scapegoat, a figure upon which it can project its most undesirable qualities, and which can be destroyed in a ritually absolving sacrifice.

Unlike primitive peoples, however, the townspeople in "The Lottery"—insofar as they repre-sent contemporary Western society—should possess social, religious, and moral prohibitions against annual lethal stonings. Commentators variously argue that it is the very ritualization that makes the murder palatable to otherwise decent people; the ritual, and fulfilling its tradition, justifies and masks the brutality.

As a modern parable on the dualism of human nature, "The Lottery" has been read as addressing such issues as the public's fascination with salacious and scandalizing journalism, McCarthyism, and the complicity of the general public in the victimization of minority groups, epitomized by the Holocaust of World War II. According to Lenemaja Friedman, three "main characteristics dominated the letters: Those critics who read the story as a traditional narrative tend to fault its surprise ending and lack of character development as unrealistic, unbelievable, and making reader identification difficult.

Other commentators, however, view "The Lottery" as a modern-day parable; they argue that the elements of the story often disparaged by its critics are actually consistent with the style and structure of New Testament parables and to stories from the Old Testament. Generally, critics agree only that the story's meaning cannot be determined with exactitude. While most critics concede that it was Jackson's intention to avoid specific meaning, some cite flatly drawn characters, unrevealing dialogue, and the shocking ending as evidence of literary infertility.

The majority of commentators, though, argue that the story's art lies in its provocativeness and that with its parable-like structure Jackson is able to address a variety of timeless issues with contemporary resonance, and thereby stir her readers to reflective thought and debate.

Comment," in Modern Short Stories: A Critical Anthology , edited by Robert B. Heilman, Harcourt, Brace Jovanovich, , pp.

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"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson is a story of an unusual town caught in a trap of always following tradition, even when it is not in their best interest. Jackson uses symbols throughout the story that relate to the overall theme.

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- Conformity in Society Exposed in Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery The Lottery, a short story by the nonconformist author Shirley Jackson, represents communities, America, the world, and conformist society as a whole by using setting and most importantly symbolism with her inventive, cryptic writing style.

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In the following essay on "The Lottery," Heilman discusses how Jackson's shift "from a realistic to a symbolic technique" intensifies the shock value of the story's ending.] Miss Jackson's story ["The Lottery"] is remarkable for the . The Lottery by Shirley Jackson Essay Words | 2 Pages. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson Shirley Jackson takes great care in creating a setting for the story, The Lottery. She gives the reader a sense of comfort and stability from the very beginning.

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Essay on The Lottery by Shirley Jackson: an Analysis Words | 7 Pages Kouyialis EN Composition II Professor Eklund The Lottery by Shirley Jackson: An Analysis The short story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson was written in and takes place in a small town, on the 27th of June. The tone that Shirley Jackson uses in "The Lottery" is not completely consistent with the themes mentioned above. She uses a light tone, but there's a dark ending and a dark theme to this story. The main theme is how traditions that lose their meaning due to human forgetfulness can cause dreadful consequences to occur.