Literary Devices In The Lottery, By Shirley Jackson

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“A stone hit her on the side of the head. "It isn't fair, it isn't right," Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her” (34). “The Lottery” is a short story written by Shirley Jackson which, sparked controversy when published in the June 26, 1948 issue of the New Yorker. Jackson used several different literary devices to support her theme that people who don’t question tradition get what they deserve. The literary devices Jackson uses to support the theme of ‘The Lottery’ are irony, foreshadowing, and pacing.

To begin with, one of the literary devices Jackson uses is irony. In the short story “The Lottery” Shirley Jackson presents, “The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers
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The setting is described as a “clear and sunny… full-summer day” and is described with positive connotations which create the impression that the story will be pleasant and ordinary. However, the story goes on to be far from it. As the story progresses the mood shifts from light-hearted and easy-going to tense and apprehensive. The villagers chuckle nervously amongst themselves and gather together quietly as the lottery commences. Once the names are picked the mood instantly becomes appalling and barbarous. The villagers move on towards Tessie and stone her to death without a second’s hesitation. The quote previously presented represents how ironic the story is overall. “The Lottery” starts off with a beautiful, warm day and ends in the brutal murder of an innocent woman. In the text, we see that “The lottery was conducted--as were the square dances, the teen club, the Halloween program--by Mr. Summers. who had time and energy to devote to civic activities. He was a round-faced, jovial man” (26). Another form of irony in “The Lottery” is Mr. Summers. He is described as a “round-faced, jovial man” and his last name “Summers” makes him seem warm and amiable. Jackson describing him as such adds on to the beginning…show more content…
On page 27, we see that, “There was a great deal of fussing to be done before Mr. Summers declared the lottery open. There were the lists to make up--of heads of families. heads of households in each family. members of each household in each family. There was the proper swearing-in of Mr. Summers by the postmaster, as the official of the lottery” (27). The whole process and build up towards the lottery is gradual. Jackson intensively describes each scene and portrays imagery throughout her story. This makes the story slow-paced and steady yet, detailed. Pacing also affects the mood of the story as Jackson’s detailed descriptions create a peaceful vibe and setting for the story to take place in. The pacing of the story creates suspense as vague clues emerge but, are not addressed until later on. Jackson writes everything in detail which makes the reader anxious to move forth and find out what happens to whoever is chosen for the lottery. This makes the story seem longer than it is and creates a lead in to the climax. In the text, we see that, “All right, folks." Mr. Summers said. "Let's finish quickly… 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” (34). Throughout the whole story, Jackson describes everything in excruciating detail until we hit the climax. Once the villagers find out that Tessie received the
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