Irony In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

Decent Essays

What makes stories special is the ability to portray meaning between the lines. Every author has their own characteristics and spin that they incorporate into each of their pieces. These can include character genre, symbolism, plot structure, and irony. Shirley Jackson writes an ironic story about a small village who partakes in an annual lottery. The village looks forward to this day and moods are always high. However when the reader gets to the end of the short story they are shocked to find the lottery is a drawing for who in the village gets stoned to death. In The Lottery, Jackson surprises her readers by putting an ironic twist at the end of her tale, by filling the story with warming articulation, light hearted characters, but …show more content…

Another method Jackson uses is making the characters seem excited and joyful. After the kids arrive, the men begin to gather, talking about planting and rain, tractors and taxes, normal everyday topics that men typically discuss. Next, the women begin to arrive, greeting each other and exchanging gossip. The scene Jackson is painting for the reader is of a common, ordinary gathering of the village like a town meeting only with something exciting about to happen. The town people are all standing around waiting for the lottery, talking, laughing, and carrying on. This is all part of the irony of Jackson’s story. Jackson creates these normal, happy scenarios like when Mrs. Hutchinson and Mrs. Delacroix were talking. It says that the two women “laughed softly,” after exchanging a joke (Jackson n.d.). This is another example that Jackson uses to make the reader believe the day is not overly important. The next light hearted segment we see in the text is when Mr. Adams goes to draw from the lottery. Mr. Adams goes to the stand where Mr. Summers is and they greet each other by first name. It concludes this interaction by saying, “They grinned at one another humorlessly” (Jackson n.d.). Jackson makes this drawing so nonchalant that the reader at this point is dying to understand what great reward is awaiting the winner of the lottery. Now the reader finds what the winner of the lottery

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