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Literary Essay on The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

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Shirley Jackson, establisher of the Shirley Jackson Awards and obtainer of her degree from Syracuse University where she was also an early fictional editor for the campus magazine, in her short story “The Lottery” (1948) claims that a village, ages ago, used the lottery’s type of selection as a way to choose one citizen to be annually stoned to death by the other citizens as a sacrifice for the crops. Jackson develops her argument by explaining the day and how usual this is for the village without coming completely out and stating that the lottery is used for murder not money. She writes to draw attention to the way the world holds onto outdated traditions without having any real sense of the meanings in order to give some clarification to some of these “traditions” we follow.

Jackson’s writing is intended for an audience of adults starting at ages 18 based off of her many sophisticated topics and writing styles. Jackson begins by vividly describing the beginning of the day while including details letting the audience know that today is a special day in the village. She specifically states the time of day, “morning of June 27th”, and continues by giving an evocative elucidation of the morning. Her vivid account of the scenery continues with, “was clear and sunny, with fresh warmth of a summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green”. Jackson proceeded to illustrate the picture of a celebration by stating, “The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank, around ten o’clock”. These pictorial samples give her story a great sense of surprise seeming as how they leave you hanging on the real central idea of the story. After the brief but vivid description of the day, Jackson moves to introduce the audience to the citizens of the town, while also introducing the main topic, the town’s lottery.

According to paragraph, “The children assembled first, of course”, and Jackson proceeds to explain the children’s school day. The introduction continues with introducing the adults, some by name, such as “Bobby Martin”, “Harry Jones”, “Dickie Delacriox”, etc. The lottery was introduced based off of characteristics not really its definition as stated, “The lottery was conducted… by Mr. Summers. The original paraphernalia for the lottery – is – the black box resting on the stool”. These introductions continue the process of unfolding the central idea of the story by introducing all the most important details. To close the essay, Jackson finally acknowledged the full central idea of her story. Ms. Jackson ultimately explained the real meaning of the lottery in their time and village. She continues through the passages telling how people became nervous through the pulling of names. Its real meaning is finally stated in the last few paragraphs, “Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual…, they remembered to use stones. Tessie Hutchinson was in the center… as she held her hands out desperately as villagers moved in on her. A stone hit her on the side of the head, and they were upon her”. These obligatory pieces of information made present in the story are the key statements needed to create the central objective of the story.

Overall, it may be said that Shirley Jackson wrote her short story “The Lottery” (1948) to educate her audience on the possible back history of a worldwide tradition known as “The Lottery”. All exemplars of the villages vivid detail, the citizens and their routines, and the lottery stated in the passage were all perfectly placed based off of her central reasoning for this essay. These main ideas were overly effective in assisting with the purpose of this passage in its entirety. For her audience, Jackson’s credibility to write on the genre and topic is exceptional, since she has a long history of writing with a lot of assisting credentials behind her.

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Literary Essay on the Lottery by Shirley Jackson. (2020, December 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved November 27, 2021, from
“Literary Essay on the Lottery by Shirley Jackson.” GradesFixer, 10 Dec. 2020,
Literary Essay on the Lottery by Shirley Jackson. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 27 Nov. 2021].
Literary Essay on the Lottery by Shirley Jackson [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2020 Dec 10 [cited 2021 Nov 27]. Available from:
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