The Unexpected Surprise Of Violence Essay

1303 words - 5 pages

No being on this planet will know exactly what will happen tomorrow. Every action they make today can alter an event in two weeks without awareness. But, life is valued poorly in the twenty-first century as another ordinary day of constant repetition. “You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen” (Coelho). Life becomes valued once risks are taken, but the outcome is never expected. Shirley Jackson, reader of witchcraft books, horrifies people with her perspective on the understanding of merciless rituals that kept communities at ease. Shirley Jackson develops her theme of unexpected violence in her short story “The Lottery” through the use of irony, symbolism, and denouement.
On a summer day in a small town in the short story, “The Lottery”, Jackson takes advantage of the peaceful environment and adds a convoluted twist through a misleading title and Old Man Warner and his traditions. The title, “The Lottery”, is viewed as a fortunate phenomenon at first, but once the reader apprehends the story line their viewpoint will never be the same. In the sentence of the short story, "Tessie Hutchinson was in the center of a cleared space by now, and she held her hands out desperately as the villagers moved in on her" (Jackson). This is the turning point where the reader realizes that they have directed towards the town's violent truth. This alteration on a typical storyline introduced new points of view such as early reviewers praising the emotional impact of the story's ending, suggesting Jackson took liberties with the plot by interjecting into a seemingly ordinary environment the horrifying reality of the lottery (Wilson). This perspective on the short story created a lottery to be seen as heinous, an ironic twist on an everyday activity. Before the lottery begins Old Man Warner comments, "Listening to the young folks, nothing's good enough for them. Next thing you know, they'll be wanting to go back to living in caves, nobody work any more, live that way for a while" (Jackson). This gives off his look on the younger generation believing those who veer are disrespectful. Being stuck in the past with his old town traditions, Old Man Warner continues on the ritual while other towns attempt diverting. Du Bose states, "Old Man Warner, the embodiment of rigid tradition, seems to believe that the sacrifice is necessary to ensure sufficient food for the village, but the other villagers are maintaining the practice out of habit a sheer inertia". The townspeople do it out of repetition while Old Man Warner does this as a traditional practice, viewing other towns who have stepped down the lottery to be contemptuous. Old Man Warner is the most educated, possibly the most religious, about the towns ritual and views the younger generation to be unlettered. His obsession creates a chaotic atmosphere that doesn’t want to let go of the past forming an ironic play on elders.

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