Shirley Jackson and The Lottery game
Shirley Jackson’s “The Lotto”, addresses the age-old secret of humanity. Jackson once said about the meaning of her literary work, “… I hoped, by setting an especially harsh ancient rite in the present and in my own village, to surprise the story’s readers with a graphic dramatization of the meaningless violence and basic inhumanity in their own lives.” In Shirley Jackson’s, “The Lotto”, the dark side of human nature is skillfully provided through the villagers’ participation in the lottery, the contrast of the setting from beginning to end, and the characterization of Tessie Hutchinson.
Jackson’s communicates about humanity that even the most kind-hearted humans are capable of dedicating such great atrocities. The villagers’ desire to take part in the lotto reveals the inhumanity within them. The lottery game occasion is completely paradoxical due to the fact that winning the lottery is typically associated with excellent things such as happiness, cash, and luxury, however, in this story, winning the lottery game implies death. No matter how illogical the event might appear, they want to sacrifice their logic to take part in such a bloody event. It is intriguing to note that the people are even casual about the entire occasion.
For example, when Mrs. Hutchinson arrives to the event, Mr. Summers states, “‘Well now,’… ‘think we much better start, get this over with, so’s we can go back to work. Anyone ain’t here? ‘” (433 ). It is as though the day is simply another day for Mr. Summers and he treats the lotto as though it is merely insignificant. In addition to this, it is likewise kept in mind that “The people had actually done it numerous times that they just half listened to the instructions; the majority of them were peaceful, moistening their lips, not browsing” (433 ). This is another example showing the nonchalant attitude of individuals.
The town had actually done this occasion a lot of times that it has actually become nothing to them- just minor. They have actually become numb to the extreme reality of the occasion. The townspeople involvement in a harsh and random event just highlights their inhumanity. Villagers persecute someone picked at random all due to the fact that she or he draws the slip of paper marked with a black dot. Everybody has an equivalent possibility of being the “winner”- even young children. They do not have to participate in the lotto, nevertheless they want to, in spite of all of its unpleasant elements, which is the troubling idea that Jackson communicates.
The setting and the atmosphere in the beginning of the story directly contrasts with the harsh ending of it. The beginning of it is completely ironic because one would not anticipate a town like this to be capable of such abhorrent acts. For example, the beginning is described as, “The early morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh heat of a full- summer season day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the turf was highly green” (430 ). Upon reading this in the beginning glance, one would not expect the story to turn out to be a gruesome and scary one, yet it ended up being such that.
Keeping reading into the story, “The kids assembled first … they tended to gather together silently for a while prior to they broke into lively play …” (431 ), the children described here seem to be innocent, carefree, and lively. The setting seems a peaceful and gorgeous town, which in effects, sets a calm environment in the story. Initially look, these people in this particular town never seem to be the kind of dedicating abhorrent deeds such as murder, yet they were all capable of such, which Jackson was attempting to communicate here- that anybody has the capacity to do wicked things.
Upon reading the very first sentence, the setting appears to be a peaceful and beautiful town, which successfully sets a calm atmosphere in the beginning of the story. On the other hand, the setting at the ending is referred to as dark and brutal. For instance, “Tessie Hutchinson remained in the center of a cleared area by now and she held out her hands desperately as the villagers moved in on her … A stone hit her on the side of the head … ‘It isn’t fair, it isn’t right,’ Mrs. Hutchinson screamed and after that they were upon her” (436 ).
This is entirely various from the start of the story. The paradox of the setting is that it is a beautiful, tranquil town with all sorts of people who appear really typical. It seems like the sort of location one would wish to live in and the sort of people one would wish to live with. But then, in this nice place, something awful is going on. This is ironic since it is something that is totally unanticipated. One would not expect to see something as awful as the lottery game occasion to take place in such a lovely place like this town.
The setting is one of the components that make the story more terrible. There is even also a tip of foreshadowing and meaning present in this story. For instance, in the earlier setting, “Bobby Martin had already packed his pockets filled with stones, and the other young boys quickly followed his example, picking the smoothest and roundest stones …” (431 ). The children of this town collect stones and put them in their pockets and into piles, which appears like simply regular kids playing, up until their violent use for them is exposed at the end of the story.
By utilizing an amazing amount of irony through the setting, the story is a lot more significant and effective. It leaves an influence on the readers in that although the setting may appear peaceful and individuals might appear typical, any person can be capable of dedicating evil. The character, Tessie Hutchinson, acts as a mirror to the readers exposing one’s inner dark side. Tessie is an example of situational irony in the story. She is thrilled about the lottery and totally willing to participate in it, however, when her partner’s name is drawn, and after that her name, she opposes that the lottery is not fair.
This appears here, “‘Clean forgot what day it was,’ she said to Mrs. Delacroix … and they both chuckled softly” (432 ). Tessie Hutchinson is seen joking about the lottery and imitating the event does not even phase her, till her husband and then ultimately herself is chosen as the sacrifice at the end of the story. When it is learnt that Expense Hutchinson has the significant paper, Tessie even goes as far as to betray Don and Eva, her child and son-in-law, exclaiming, “There’s Don and Eva … Make them take their chance!” (435 ).
She is just watching out for her own interests here. Instead of giving up herself to pass away, which would be the brave thing to do, she offers up her child and child- in law, Don and Eva as sacrifice. When she is selected to be killed, everybody- even her own family and friends betray her and are quick to stone her to death. Mrs. Delacroix, the exact same lady who was chuckling and talking with Tessie Hutchinson, is the one who “… chosen a stone so large she had to select it up with both hands and relied on Mrs. Dunbar … ‘Rush'”( 436 ), like as if Tessie was absolutely nothing to her anymore.
What is a lot more troubling is that “… someone provided little Davy Hutchinson a couple of pebbles” (436 ). This reveals innocence of children made use of for the sake of killing someone. It does not matter whether the picked individual is friend or family, once he or she is picked, they automatically end up being a target of ruthless killing. In addition, it is not up until she is picked as the “winner”, that she recognizes the injustice and evil in this scenario and screams, “It isn’t reasonable, it isn’t ideal” (436 ). This is where the irony lies.
Earlier in the story, Tessie was more than going to take part in the lottery, and in reality, was smiling and chuckling with Mrs. Delacroix, nevertheless, now that she is the chosen one, it is all of a sudden unfair. This is significant since if she had actually not been selected, she would not be protesting, but rather she would be participating in the occasion, which shows the darkness in humankind. It is thought-provoking that Jackson, through the character Tessie, communicates that individuals may take pleasure in seeing evil being done unto others, nevertheless, not enjoy it being done to themselves, especially in this case, violence.
Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” skillfully reveals the dark side of humanity. The lottery game, in this story, is not a video game one would want to win, however, it is a video game that illustrates the evil side of humanity. This is a side of humankind not many individuals would want to see or even admit to. Inhumanity is inherit even in the most tender-hearted individuals. In this story, the townspeople willingness to play the lotto, the creative contrast of the story’s beginning and end, and the character Tessie Hutchinson showcases the dark side of human nature. Nobody is immune from evil.