Beneath The Surface Essay

912 words - 4 pages

Shirley Jackson manages to manipulate the reader in the first reading into identifying with the seemingly normal, pleasant town in order to heighten the shock of the lottery’s true intentions, as well as to expose the reader to the sinister traditions that lie beneath the town. Jackson sends the reader into a discovery of foreshadowing, and symbolism, only found into the second reading, that lead up to the tragic consequence of being the chosen winner of the Lottery.
Within the first reading, Jackson conveys an image of a modest, tranquil town on a warm, summer day. Children are filled with enthusiasm and anticipation due to school being over, young boys begin to collect stones onto piles for an unexplained reason, whilst the young girls talk and sneak glances towards the boys. The men began to gather around the square conversing amongst themselves about farming, and taxes, while the women are commencing greetings and gossip as they make their way to their husbands. As families begin to come together for the lottery, Mr. Summers, a coal owner, is seen arriving at the square. Mr. Summers is the conductor of the lottery “as [well as] the square dances, the teen-age club, [and] the Halloween program” (Jackson 671). This deliberately eludes the town to be a festive, small traditional village as well as an indication of a positive outcome for the lottery. As the lottery is opened by Mr. Summers, Mrs. Hutchinson hurriedly makes her way towards the lottery, she humorlessly explains her tardiness to her husband by jokingly saying, “Wouldn’t have me leave m’dishes in the sink, now would you..?” (Jackson 673). This delay of Mrs. Hutchinson leaves a presumption of low important to the lottery almost to the point of being overlooked. This portrays the lottery as being flexible to change, or even of termination as “that over in the north village… [whom] [talk] of giving up the lottery” (Jackson 674). As the lottery ascends, the atmosphere changes to low laughs, and quite murmurs. Mr. Summers greets each individual, whom is being called, with a nervous grin, and humor. This is the strategically way Jackson sets the stage for the lottery that lends the reader into assuming a “positive” ending to the story. It is what causes the reader the initial shock of the unexpected stoning death of the “prizewinner”.
The startling death of Mrs. Hutchinson, came unsuspectingly to the reader. Where in the first reading, the context of the story indicated an ordinary town, with a good outcome to the lottery, the second reading uncovers the hidden foreshadowing, and symbolism within the story. It is not until one re-reads the story where the intricate details begin to lead to the surprising result of this odd...

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