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Literary Analysis of Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery

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Ever wondered what you’d do if you won the lottery? The main theme in The Lottery is blindly following tradition. In the story, there’s an annual tradition of people coming out and joining the traditional lottery. The author develops the theme of blindly following the tradition no matter how bad it is. The author also developed the theme by using the same old black box, yet not being the original, to symbolize not changing tradition. The author made the theme by showing that everything is not what it seems. In the story, the author foreshadows the ending by adding in “made a great pile of stones in the corner of the square and guarded it against the raids from other boys”. Most people assume that the rocks are for killing someone, and would more likely think that they’re for skipping rocks. There was some hesitation when the town members were asked for help. Implying that they were fearful about touching the box. Another way the author uses foreshadowing was when Tessie started feeling something eerie or off about the lottery, and the story ends with Tessie being stoned to death.

Another example is the adults reaction to the kids collecting stones and piling them up and guarding them. For example, “Bobby Martin ducked under his mother’s grasping hand and ran, laughing, back to the pile of stones”. The adults aren’t fazed by the actions and went on as if everything was normal and let them run off to guard the pile. All of these little examples were hinting to what was going to happen at the end of the story. The story itself is very ironic, for example, the lottery being something that is commonly thought to be about money, when it actually is about being stoned to death. When people first read this story, they get excited, wondering who’s going to win a massive amount of money and they begin to think about what they’d do if they won that money. The town people are hoping that they don’t get chosen for the lottery and want for the day to end or all together, stop the day from happening. To quote from the article, “Bill Hutchinson was standing quietly, staring down at the paper in his hand. Suddenly, Tessie Hutchinson shouted to Mr. Summers. ‘You didn’t give him enough time to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn’t fair!’”. It’s also ironic how everyone seems to care for one another, but without hesitation, they accept tradition and accept the fate of the winner. Another literary device is imagery. The imagery first portrayed was calm and peaceful which started to transition to eerie and dark. It’s also shown that people are trying to finish the lottery quickly to get home on time for supper. Another example is Old Man Walter, the story mentions that he’s been drawn into the lottery for 27 years now. It’s another example that shows that everyone in town in blindly accepting the tradition of the lottery. He also doesn’t seem to have a problem with being entered into the lottery many times.

According to the story, “Seventy-seventh year I’ve been in the lottery,’ Old Man Walter said as he went through the crowd. ‘Seventy-seventh time’”. In conclusion, there were multiple literary devices shown in the story like foreshadowing, irony, and imagery. Irony was shown by portraying that the story would be about winning the lottery and getting massive amounts of money. When it’s not about wanting win and having your fate decided by a little sheet of paper with a dark circle on it. Foreshadowing was shown by explaining to the readers that the kids were collecting rocks and guarding them. It was also shown when townspeople were nervous and uneasy throughout the morning. The last literary device was imagery. Imagery was shown by the emotion and the setting with the story. The story first started off with a calm setting which transitioned to people who were feeling anxious throughout the morning.

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Literary Analysis Of Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery. (2020, December 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved August 3, 2021, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/literary-analysis-of-shirley-jacksons-the-lottery/
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Literary Analysis Of Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/literary-analysis-of-shirley-jacksons-the-lottery/> [Accessed 3 Aug. 2021].
Literary Analysis Of Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2020 Dec 10 [cited 2021 Aug 3]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/literary-analysis-of-shirley-jacksons-the-lottery/
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