Essay On The Lottery By Shirley Jackson

1024 words - 4 pages

Have you ever wondered how traditions can sometimes turn into brutal bloody rituals, in which some individuals participates without wondering if it's right or not? The short-story The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson, is a great work of fiction that shows us how a socially divided society can get into pointless violence and harm one of their own member. The story takes place on a warm morning of June in the town square of a small village. The villagers gather for the annual lottery and all the families draw a slip of paper from a box but only one has a black spot on it. Tessie Hutchinson receives the 'winning' slip and is stoned to death by the villagers, even if she argues that the drawing was unfair. With different literary devices, Shirley Jackson efficiently demonstrates how social class division and blind obedience to traditions was the cause of this despicable event.First, the use of foreshadowing gives us clues to future events in the story but also helps understanding one of the main themes of the story: Social class division. Let us have a look at some examples of foreshadowing in the story: "Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones", which is a good clue to the stoning that will take place later on in the story while "They grinned at one another humourlessly and nervously" tells us that the 'prize', in this case stoning to death, of the lottery is not really joyful. But the most relevant example of this literary device is probably the foreshadowing of Tessie Hutchinson as the lottery victim. The town in The Lottery is undoubtedly male-dominant. First of all, the officials of the lottery, Mr. Graves, Mr. Summers and Mr. Martin and his son are all probably the wealthiest persons in town. Mr. Summers owns the coal company, flourishing company if there was one at the time and his occupation allows him to have "time and energy to devote to civic activities"; Mr. Martin is the town grocer and Mr. Graves is the postmaster. Therefore, they were all economically powerful and they were considered above the rest of the villagers. Many sentences in the text implies that women were less valuable members of the society than men. At the beginning of the story, the women came after their husband at the gathering and they were wearing faded house dresses and sweaters, suggesting they were housewives. They also gossiped while the men were talking of more important issues, such as taxes. The heads of the families, the men, are to draw and in the case the husband cannot draw, the boy, if he is old enough, will draw for his mother. The authority the men of the town have over the women is shown when, for example, Bill Hutchinson says to his wife to shut up, when Bobby Martin escapes from his mother authority but immediately comes back when his father calls him, etc. As women in general are seen as not valuable as men, one among them is even seen as less since she...

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