Characters In "The Lottery" Essay

884 words - 4 pages

The characters in a short story are vital to understanding everything that the author has put into her work. Most of Shirley Jackson’s characters in “The Lottery” adapt as the story goes on, revealing their true opinions and behaviors. Her characters are also true to life, which establishes realism in her stories. Tess, Old Man Warner, and the women of this story all provide outlooks and opinions that shape “The Lottery” into the constructive story it is.
Immediately, the women of “The Lottery” seem to be a friendly group who stick by one another’s sides. However, as the plot uncovers, the reader discovers that each woman would easily choose tradition over friendship. The traits of the ...view middle of the document...

This shows that Old Man Warner regards the Lottery as a respected tradition that should forever be practiced. He furthers his flat-character traits by criticizing Joe Summers for “joking with everybody” (Jackson, 139), and also by implying that without the lottery, society would revert to primitive existence. Jackson has Old Man Warner state that this is his 77th year participating in the Lottery to show where his main idea is derived from. He may be the only town’s member who was alive when the tradition was carried out fully and correctly. Therefore, he has seen, over the years, the slow depreciation of this beloved ritual. He regards the changes as disrespectful, and believes that they show how the young people wish to live “in caves, nobody work[ing] any more” (Jackson, 139). He also remarks that ‘there’s always been a lottery” (Jackson, 139) so society shouldn’t change now because it would only cause trouble. Shirley Jackson uses Old Man Warner as a flat character whose main focus is on the stupidity of any riddance of the Lottery. She also portrays him as someone who is as old as the tradition itself.
Ultimately, Tess is the all-important round character in “The Lottery”. She seems relatable, as she is late to the gathering in town. As the story unfolds, she comes across less or more relatable, based on the reader. She also offers a sense of light heartedness that the town’s people seem to admire. However, this trait disappears when her family receives the paper with the black mark. She screams that “it wasn’t fair” (Jackson, 140) because her husband was rushed by Mr....

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