The Horror of The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson

1375 Words 6 Pages
Once upon a time there was a little village. In this village three hundred people happily farmed and played and went about their business. The children went to school while the men cut wood or farmed, and the women cooked and cleaned. Every summer in June each of villagers took part in the traditional lottery drawing and one villager was picked for the prize – a stoning. In 1948, Shirley Jackson published this short story known as “The Lottery,” in The New York Times. The story’s plot shocked readers all over America as they learned of the horror happening in such a quaint town. Jackson purposely set this tragic event in this innocent setting to emphasize humanity’s cruelty. Using her appalling short story, The Lottery, …show more content…
Just as the story begins to feel set in time, we realize that Jackson conveniently omits the year from the story’s setting, furthering her idea that this could occur at any time. The irony of June 27th comes with a closer look at the month – June – a month when midsummer occurs, associating this time with delight and gaiety (Griffin, Amy A. 43). June 27th provides detail for the story with the intention of creating a real time for this story to occur, in any reader’s life. Like it’s time, this story’s realistic yet vague location provides insight into Jackson’s evaluation of society’s inhumanity. The setting continues to expose the idea that we do not know where this horrible event occurs; it could be in the next country or even the next town. But Jackson purposefully shows that this barbaric cruelty could be anywhere, and critic Jay A. Yarmove agrees: “At no point does the author tell us where the lottery takes place, but we are made aware of several possible indicators” (41). Jackson hints at a quaint town as she describes the village “where there were only three hundred people” who came together and “greeted one another and exchanged bits of gossip” (1). These details create the possibility that this town exists and the lottery really occurs somewhere. As Cleanth Brooks states it, “the village is made to exist for us” (76). Shirley Jackson makes a concerted effort through these details to make the village

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