Satire/Irony in the Lottery? by Shirley Jackson
Making use of Paradox and its traditional associations eludes the reader from analyzing a story as a Romance, but instead offer the reader a reversed twist. This use of paradoxical convention in literary work is seen through Shirley Jackson’s short Story, The Lottery game; the story’ of Testis Hutchinson, stoned to death after winning her town’s annual lottery game. Therefore, The Lottery game, according to Northrop Fryer’s literary model, is a Satire/Elroy. Jackson’s use of The Lotto as both the title and event, in addition to its conventional associations is paradoxically reversed in the end.
A lottery game, according to Webster Dictionary, is a treatment for dispersing something (typically cash or rewards) among a group of individuals by lot or by possibility are distributed o the winners among persons buying a possibility (Webster Dictionary). The fortunate winner of the lottery reaps the benefit of his/her luck and wins the reward of whatever being drawn. The lottery game within the story, however, is of a various intention, where the winner of the lottery receives the prize Of death. The story main character and lottery winner, Mrs.
Hutchinson, is completely stoned to death by the remainder of the town as a result of an annual tradition for the well being of an abundant harvest. The paradox that resides within the lottery game stays obvious for the reason that the winner of the tottery still stays a loser. Mrs. Hutchinson is the supreme loser, for her prize is the taking away of her life. In a lot of lottos, just one winner is picked leaving the rest as losers in jealousy and awe. In this situation, however, Mrs. Hutchinson winning ticket, ironically making her the ultimate loser, regardless of her beneficial luck, leaving everyone else as the ultimate winners.
The Lotto is a paradoxical mess, due to the fact that the natural reaction to winning this lottery game is grim. Individuals of a lotto wish to win for a chance of a brand-new life and a new beginning. Nevertheless, in this story, the villagers decline winning, trigger the wonderful prize waiting for the winner is bleak?a very cruel death. Jackson utilizes a romantic setting paradoxically all throughout, as much as the dreadful and unanticipated ending. The Story begins with a setting described as: “The morning of June 27th was clear and bright, with the fresh heat of a full- summer day” (Jackson 875).
This description is fitting to Fryer’s explanation of the literary cycle, where the repetition in nature consists of all the components of a Romance. The idea of repetition and recurrence (according to Frye) is evident in all types of literature (Frye 19). A statement from Fryer’s The Singing School states: In nature the most obvious duplicating or recurring feature is the cycle. The sun travels throughout the sky into the dark and comes back once again; the seasons go from spring to winter season and back to spring once again; water goes from springs or fountains to the sea and back again in rain.
Human life goes from childhood to death and back once again in new birth. (Frye 18-19) Jackson’s descriptions of the intense and best setting in the start of the story all link to Fryer’s standard associations with Love. The principles of summer season, sun, and ‘Excavator of a full-summer day’ all fit the idea of the “perfect world”, where whatever is at its zenith. This best setting of the Romantic archetype can only result in the atrocious story ending that totally opposes its intense and ideal beginning.
The Romantic convention, (according to Fryer’s literary cycle) sits exceptional to the Satire/Elroy listed below it, and for that reason, Frye recommends that this Romantic start can Only lead to an ironic/satiric ending. The use of particular characters and names in the story show the total convention of Satire/Elroy. Mr. Summer seasons, for example is a guy that organizes the annual custom of the town’s lotto. The name “Summers” has strong invitational associations with Fryer’s convention of Love, and is an ideal name for such ideal setting.
Moreover, his physical look, too, matches this convention; Jackson describes him “in his clean white t-shirt and blue denims, he appeared very proper and important” (Jackson 876). Mr. Summers, the organizer in charge of the lottery game, in essence, supervises death. His actions of making the slips of paper for the lottery game make him the bringer of death, identifying the fate of the next winning candidate of the lotto. “Summers”, a name so fitting of happiness and zenith, ironically comes the taker of life, which fulfils a paradoxical literary example of among Jackson’s characters.
The principle of the innocence of children contains the conventional association of Satire/Elroy. According to literature, kids are perceived to be innocent till exposed to the harsh truths of the world, where their maturity develops and the loss of innocence is achieved. The children in this story, nevertheless, appear as regular kids in the start, with the typical objectives of playtime and fun. Jackson even describes Bobby Martin, a child of the village, stuffing his pocket full of stones with other young boys allowing his example, picking the smoothest and roundest ones (875 ).
These actions seem like simple child’s play at initially, as all children did collect stones and rocks in one point of their youth. It is not till later on in the story, though, does the reader find out that these rocks are meant for the stoning Of the next lotto winner. Children are viewed to be harmless and innocent of sin at such a young age, but the paradoxical reversal in this story makes them sinners, contradicting literature’s understanding that kids are supposed to be innocent.
The loss of innocence and cruelty already embedded in the hillier preparing to stone the victor of the lottery shows the Paradox of Jackson’s characters. Old Man Warner, another of Jackson’s important characters, is another example of Paradox. He is a figurative character that represents the “old smart man” in literature. Being the aged male that he is, he has acquired wisdom and experience throughout the years, making him the wisest amongst the villagers, with the present lotto being held as his seventy-seventh year participating.
Old Male Warner, nevertheless, supports the lotto and thinks it is a tradition, saying: “There’s always been a lottery” (879 ). The irony behind his character is his incapability to assist Mrs. Hutchinson in her time of grief due to the fact that of his ignorance. His name, ‘Warner”, when broken down, equates to “warn-her”, an action so fitting to a normal Romantic convention. Furthermore, Old Man Warder’s ignorance does not assist Mrs. Hutchinson situation, but makes it even worse as he encourages individuals to stone her, stating: “come on, begin, everyone” (881 ).
The paradoxical twist embedded on this wise sage becomes an informative example of the Irony of the characters. A more example of Paradox within Jackson’s cast of characters is Mrs. Dielectric. Figuratively, the name “Dielectric” is French, indicating “of the cross”, which is a symbol of the Christian faith?the cross in which Jesus died on. Mrs. Dielectric, one of Mrs. Hutchinson good friends, ironically becomes her enemy, tricking her relationship, and at the end of the story, betrays her and stones her to death. At the start of the story, she seems a devoted and reliable good friend to Mrs. Hutchinson.
After discovering the winner of the lottery, however, Mrs. Dielectric ends up being spiteful and unforgiving. She starts to deceit Mrs. Hutchinson and begins to get the crowd involved and eddied for the stoning of her fellow good friend. She even ends up affecting the worst damage, bring up the most significant rock, Of which she carried with two hands (881 Such religiously named character turns into one of the evilest of all, satisfying the Ironic association with Jackson’s character. The religious name, “Of the cross”, is a Satiric representation turning it against Christianity; satirizing religious beliefs and society.
This strong Satiric/ Paradoxical recommendation to religious beliefs and faith has actually ended up being the evil that harms Mrs. Hutchinson and the town. Religious beliefs and faith work together to help one boost spiritual strength from sin and evil, however in this case, these two beliefs have ended up being the influences for Mrs. Dielectric’s intentions. This Ironic and Satiric reversal turns Christianity upon itself from being the ultimate hero, to becoming the supreme kind of evil within the story. Nonetheless, Mr. Graves, ends up being an appropriate representation of Jackson’s usage of paradoxical characters.
The name “Graves” compliments this character’s actions with the proof Of Mr. Graves, helping Mr. Summertimes make the slips Of paper (876 ). Upon Mrs. Hutchinson stoning, Mr. Graves, in the front of the crowd, verses the sacrifice, thus becoming the bringer of death. The lottery, being a veteran custom, gradually loses the significance behind its purpose, similar to modern society. The annual arrival of the village’s lottery game becomes regular. Jackson explains it as: ‘the people had actually done it so many times that they only half listened to the instructions” (878 ).
This description of the repeated event highly connects to Fryer’s convention of Satire/Elroy; the villagers regularly decide to take part in the lottery due to the fact that they have actually grown accustomed to this tradition. Old Male Warner negative reaction upon earning of the extermination of the lottery becomes reasonable as he specifies that the towns who quit the lottery are a “pack of insane fools” (878 ). This becomes an affordable action since to the villagers, the notion of a lotto has always existed, Old Guy Warner stating, ‘there’s always been a lottery game” (879 ).
The thought of eliminating such an old tradition and custom-made from the town would resemble taking the event of Christmas from today’s Christian society. Old Man Warder’s statement: “Sided to be a saying about Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon”, is an indirect reference to the function of he yearly lotto (879 ), This old saying that is no longer in use, for the function of the custom has been forgotten since the villagers had done it many times. This loss of function and significance resembles society today.
Many people have actually forgotten the true significance and importance behind spiritual traditions, such as the significance present giving during Christmas or the actual spiritual occasion in which Easter is based upon. Satirically speaking, the lottery becomes a mirror to modern-day society today, fulfilling the Satiric/ Paradoxical action of buffooning at the world and society. The lots of different examples of paradoxes such as the name of the lotto and its traditional associations, together with the cast of ironic characters and satirical relationship with society, really compliment this story as a Satire/Elroy.
This parody of Romance not just teases us, but likewise mirrors society. From the Paradox of a lottery game to the Satire of its significance, The Lotto by Shirley Jackson ends up being a manipulated version of the “ideal world”. This inferiority to the convention of Love quickly becomes a travesty. It further exceeds the convention of a Disaster turning it to a nightmare where the worst of the resort is likely to happen. The Lotto, as exciting and thrilling its idea may be at first, remains the exact same in the end due to the Ironic and Satiric turnarounds exposed.
A lottery game is a gamble and a threat, one that is of slim possibilities. It is game that many people play and desire to win, where the greatest irony becomes the concept of winning above the slightest of odds.