The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson

746 Words3 Pages
In Shirley Jackson’s short story, “The Lottery” the use of the third-person dramatic point of view allow the readers to visualize themselves in a typical village spying on an annual lottery. However, in actuality they are about to realize that the subdued and ordinary townspeople have traditions that are much more sacred than a human life. Throughout the story, the third-person dramatic point of view contributes to the tone and idea as a result of Jackson’s effective use of language control, indifferent attitude, and characters’ dialogue. Jackson’s choice of point of view enables her to shape the tone with language control. She uses linguistic such as, adjectives and adverbs sparingly to define characters. For example, “They stood…show more content…
As a result, the readers based on the author’s use of words through the narrator presume the townspeople are there for a prize—not to witness a horrifying death by stoning. Next, the objective attitude of the narrator allows the tone to fully stand on its own without interference by a subjective point of view. Thus, the readers cannot be distracted by outside noises, since reporting is limited to what is actually said and happens. The matter-of-fact tone of the narrator sets the atmosphere for this story, in that it parallels the attitude that the townspeople have toward the lottery. In other words, the narrator goes around taking notes and unfolding the details of the lottery, whereas the townspeople are going about their regular business nonchalantly. Meanwhile, the narrator does not interject moral judgment when reporting, so the tone is undisturbed. This is demonstrated by the following, “. . . , the whole lottery took less than two hours, so it could begin at ten o’ clock in the morning and still be through in time to allow the villagers to get home for noon dinner” (Jackson 137). The narrator does not stop to interpret or draw assumptions about the lottery. If told from any other perspective, the tone would have been altered because the thoughts and feeling about the horrific event would have been revealed much too quickly; thereby revealing the ending. Another contribution that the third-person

More about The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson

Open Document