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A Literary Analysis of The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

A Literary Analysis of "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson

Shirley Jackson's short story, "The Lottery", ironically gives the lottery a bad meaning. The lottery in this story is used for a public stoning, contrary to the first thing that comes to a reader's mind when they think of winning the lottery; a big sum of money. The reader sees both literal and metaphorical meaning of this story because for one it shows for face value what the entire story is about, and hidden behind it is the notion of the scapegoat being picked like a lottery number.

The setting of the story in respects to the story's environment served to illustrate the mood of that particular time in the story. It serves a small role in words, but adds detail to enhance the feeling the reader gets when reading the story. The setting takes place in the town square, where the story starts out with "the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green." An ambience of cheerfulness and buoyancy fills the air. Also, some foreshadowing is being used because the town square is a clue that the lottery must hold some kind of importance. Another piece of foreshadowing is when "Bobby and Harry Jones and Dickie... eventually made a great pile of stones in one corner of the square...," which hints at the impending doom of the lottery winner. The only place where setting is a factor is the beginning, because the setting stays the same, and the environment does not change in the two hours that the story took place in.

Essentially, this story is told in the limited omniscient point of view. The histories of selected characters were told, but the thoughts of the characters were omitted from any part of the story. The point of view is used to conceal what is going to happen next. By using limited, the thoughts of the characters are left out, and therefore, since they know what the lottery is, they surely think about it. If the author was to put the thoughts of the character in the story, then the ending would have been given away at the start of lottery ritual, because the dreadful consequences of drawing the black dot would be all the people are thinking about.

Many Characters are introduced into this story. Flat characters are introduced in the beginning of...

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