The Lottery: A Sinister Yet Surreal Representation Of Human Weakness And Hypocrisy

905 words - 4 pages

Shirley Jackson, an American author and novelist, was popular in her time for her peculiar sense of mystery and horror. Her fictitious short story “The Lottery” is nothing short of sinister, yet surreal representation of human weakness and hypocrisy. Her clever use of consistently humorous and friendly language to narrate an act of evil does ‘pack a punch’ for the readers; especially, the final revelation of the fate of the apparent winner can make one feel ‘sick to the stomach’. Jackson has applied carefully toned language, vivid imagery for graphic dramatization and carefully crafted characters, to attain the complete effect of a mysterious horror story with an underlying message that ...view middle of the document...

Summers while Mr. Graves, who is the assistant, is the unavoidable fate that awaits the winner. Jackson does not give up the secret of the threat foreshadowed by Mr. Graves until the very end. A great deal of imagery is used to describe Mr. Summers. Wearing clean white shirt and blue jeans, Mr. Summers mediates the preparation of the slips and the drawing of them. He is well respected and is jovial with the villagers, which set the easy going mood of the story. However, Mr. Graves is always with Mr. Summers showing that evil may not necessarily be obvious.
Another prominent character in the story is Mrs. Hutchinson. She is the protagonist and through her, Jackson portrays the evil that lies in society. Society as a whole maybe morally wrong but individuals seem to accept that. Mrs. Hutchinson is also a selfish product of her society. This is shown when she expects her own daughter and son in law Don to take their chance. The reader notices the individualistic mentality of the society, Mrs. Hutchinson is from. This is shown again, once she is picked, the villagers are seen to hurry up the process, just so that they may return home for lunch.
Jackson uses a blunt tone occasionally to guise certain strange occurrences to pass onto the reader as something ordinary. She carefully combines normal behavior with certain odd behaviors: “The children assembled first … had already stuffed his pockets full of stone”. When the men are introduced in the story, they are simply talking about “planting and rain, tractors and taxes”. This tool is so frequently used by the author that there is confusion in the reader. Eventually, when the idea settles in, the reader realizes the absence of moral obligation of the characters towards the...

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