A Review of Shirley Jackson's Short Story 'The Lottery'

643 Words3 Pages
Shirley Jackson's short story "The Lottery" offers a disturbing vision of small-town life, mob mentality, and social conformity. The author uses a number of literary techniques to capture the mood, tone, and theme of "The Lottery." One of those techniques is foreshadowing. Foreshadowing in "The Lottery" helps build the suspense that makes the story so effective. The meaning of the titular lottery is not fully revealed until the end of the story. Jackson compels the reader to discover why the children are carrying stones in their pocket, and what is inside the little black box. Some of the foreshadowing is tongue-in-cheek: such as by deliberately setting the story on a cheerful, sunny day. A careful study of foreshadowing in "The Lottery" helps Jackson to execute the main themes of the story: the lottery represents the ominous nature of social control, mob mentality, and conformity. Foreshadowing establishes the primary tone of the short story, which is ominous. The story opens on a bright, sunny day. By setting the story during "fresh warmth of a full-summer day," Jackson is able to juxtapose the evil that is to come. It is as if the sunlight is casting a figurative shadow on the rest of the day. Then, the narrator states that "of course," the children assembled first. Why should the children assemble first, "of course," and what is the reader supposed to know? By including the phrase "of course" in the first line of the second paragraph, Jackson accomplishes the goal of
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