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Literary Analysis | The Lottery

The story “The Lottery” is a work of fiction written by Shirley Jackson in 1948. Despite several written novels that have received a paean from critics and readers’ interest, Jackson’s most famous work is the story “The Lottery”, which describes the ugly underside of the rural town in America.

Thus, this paper introduces and presents the short story “The Lottery.” It describes, explores, and analyzes the above-mentioned story using the literary devices in order to support a claim.

To start with, the response to this story was negative and aroused a lot of critics and controversy with the crowds. In her story, Jackson uses both comedy and irony in order to show the weakness of human being, dissimulation, and evil. The story begins with the event when children gather up the stones and put them in the heaps. “The Lottery” takes place in a small village that is well-known for its ritual called “The lottery.” This event is conducted each year in order to secure a good harvest and the whole village gathers together for this local tradition. On the day of the lottery, people gather in the square to hear the name of the chosen person.

The round starts when one person in the village is chosen by chance with the help of a drawing. Then that person should be stoned by their family and friends. The above-stated drawing was practiced over seventy-seven years and experienced by every member of this village.

It is obviously that Jackson makes a statement concerning human evil and hypocrisy. As it was mentioned, the story takes place in a very peaceful area where people are typical and everybody knows each other. The main idea of this story is that individuals are not always as they seem at first glance. A pure evil can be hidden under a human’s congeniality.

Since Jackson wrote the story in a friendly manner, in the beginning the reader does not capture the main idea of this work. Moreover, the reader expects that the chosen person (the winner) will get a prize or something like that.

In addition, this story shows the weakness of human being. This place, having such a horrible tradition for many years and conducting it without any objections, continues to carry out this ritual and adheres to the local traditions. Therefore, the major theme of this story is to adhere to the tradition.

It seems that Jackson supposes that a lot of people have weak characters and are not strong enough in order to resist their disapprobation due to their fear of being refused by the community. Instead of this, individuals sacrifice their well-being and happiness for other people’s sake.

Moreover, it is not superfluous to add that the protagonist of this story is Mrs. Hutchinson who was presented in this story in order to show weakness and falsity.

Talking about stylistic devices of this story, it is possible to say that this story presents some of them (for example, parallelism when there are the uses of questions that are not ones by their structure, etc.).
Jackson, recreating the ancient rituals, showed senseless cruelty, brutality, and general inhumanity in people’s souls.

Taking the above-mentioned information into consideration, it is possible to draw a conclusion that there is no doubt that Shirley Jackson made a great contribution to the development of American literature.

Nowadays, Shirley Jackson’s works are essential and important for our society, and have yet to get a decent estimate of the contemporaries.