Satire/Irony in ‘the Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson

2034 WordsOct 19, 20109 Pages
Satire/Irony in ‘The Lottery’: The Lucky Ticket The use of Satire/Irony within literature establishes situations where the unlikelihood of the occurrence of an event will happen. Jackson’s manipulation of his story, The Lottery, provides an unexpected twist to what one may seem to be a normal subject. Northrop Frye’s The Singing School, suggests that all stories are told in either one of four ways: Comedy, Romance, Tragedy or Satire/Irony (Frye 18). The use of Irony and its conventional associations eludes the reader from interpreting a story as a Romance, but instead give the reader a reversed twist. This use of ironic convention in literary work is seen through Shirley Jackson’s short story, The Lottery; the story of Tessie…show more content…
Mr. Summers, for example is a man that organizes the annual tradition of the village’s lottery. The name “Summers” has strong conventional associations with Frye’s convention of Romance, and is a suitable name for such suitable setting. Furthermore, his physical appearance, too, matches this convention; Jackson describes him “in his clean white shirt and blue jeans, he seemed very proper and important” (Jackson 876). Mr. Summers, the organizer in charge of the lottery, in essence, oversees death. His actions of making the slips of paper for the lottery make him the bringer of death, determining the fate of the next winning candidate of the lottery. “Summers”, a name so fitting of happiness and zenith, ironically becomes the taker of life, which fulfils an ironic literary example of one of Jackson’s characters. The concept of the innocence of children contains the conventional association of Satire/Irony. According to literature, children are perceived to be innocent until exposed to the harsh realities of the world, where their maturity develops and the loss of innocence is achieved. The children in this story, however, appear as regular children in the beginning, with the normal intentions of playtime and fun. Jackson even describes Bobby Martin, a child of the village, stuffing his pocket full of stones with other boys following his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest ones (875).

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