The Lotto– Analysis
Paradox in “The Lotto’ by Shirley Jackson Irony is a hidden theme utilized throughout Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery.” The setting is introduced as a clear and bright day, however ends with the harsh death off homemaker. The title of the story itself is paradoxical, indicating that those who participate in the lottery game have a possibility of winning some sort of reward. The use of names in general, like the names of the 2 individuals who basically run the town, is also a source of paradox in this short story.
The plot of “The Lotto” as a whole is filled with paradoxical twists and turns. The concept of a lottery game is to win something, so the title leads the reader to believe the winner will receive a reward of some sort, when in truth the “winner” will be stoned to death by the other villagers. The villagers act extremely nonchalant upon arriving at the lottery, which makes it appear as if it is just another uneventful day in a village. Thinking about the seriousness and consequences Of the lotto, it seems odd that the villagers do not make a huge offer about it.
Despite the deep history of this “ordinary scapegoat” and its practice as a sop to the gods for a needed corn harvest,” all the villagers seem to bear in mind is the callous killing of a random person (Snodgrass 1). On the very same note, it is paradoxical that a number of the original traditions of the lottery, such as the recital and the salute, have actually been long forgotten. As the story opens, making use of names at this annual event appears to “reinforce the friendliness of the gathering;” the reader feels that she or he knows these people as their names are called, one by one, in alphabetical order (Warlock 1).
The names of the two male organizers of the lottery game, Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves, provide the reader with clues to the story’s “transition from life to death” (1 ). Mr. Graves is the postmaster for the town and the person who swears Mr. Summertimes in as the lotto official. His name brings a grim reality to the lotto once the reader learns what the so-called “winner” gets. On the other hand, Mr. Summers has a pleasant sounding name that matches his description as a “round-faced, jolly male” (Jackson 214).
Mr. Summer seasons is he mayor of the town and also runs the coal company. The word summertime normally elicits ideas of pleasantness and joy. His name adds to the irony of the story, as his role in the random choice of the lottery’s victim contrasts with the pleasant ideas connected with his name. Testis, late to the gathering because her arms were plunged to the elbow in dishwater, seems inconsequential, even annoying, in the beginning.
Just as everyone in the town turns versus her?children, guys, other women purchased the yester that sustains them?does the reader realised that this is a routine stoning of a scapegoat who can depend upon no one: not her daughter, not her partner, not even her little kid, Davys, who picks up an extraordinarily large rock to throw at her. No reader can complete this story without considering the violence and inhumanity that Jackson planned it to depict. In the irony of its representation lies the scary of this classic tale and, one hopes, a careful reevaluation of social codes and worthless routines.