Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

Decent Essays

The timeless saying “You cannot judge a book by its cover” could not be truer than with Shirley Jackson’s short story, “The Lottery”. Jackson’s title for the short story is in fact ironic leading the reading to assume the story to be cheerful and jolly, an assumption that could not be more wrong. “The Lottery” is about an annual lottery draw in a small town in New England. A tradition that has continued to be practiced for seventy years by the townspeople. This is not the lottery as we know it consisting of money, but the opportunity to be a sacrifice. Where one person is randomly chosen to be stoned be stoned to death by the villagers. The winner or rather the loser is forced to be a sacrifice to god in order for them to get rain later in the year. Jackson uses character names, hypocrisy, and weakness of humans to reveal the fearful nature of society. Each character’s name helps to add to the meaning behind the lottery. The same way in which Jackson uses irony within the title, the very names she gives the characters are ironic and foreshadowing of the events to come. The name Delacroix is said early in the story, and the word Delacroix means “of the cross” in French. Giving the reader the ability to infer that a religious event is going to take place later in the story. As well as using the name to provoke the Christian symbol of martyrdom. The same way in which the lottery is a martyrdom in this town. Mr. Summers is the name given to the conductor of the lottery and his

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