The Victim

Including news on a few of the elements of literature.

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Main Idea

Shirley Jackson's short story " 'The Lottery' " portrays a village following a superstitious tradition. Every year on the day of June 27th all the people participate in a random drawing, known as a lottery. This isn't your normal lottery. What if I said you are a sacrifice? The people in this village sacrifice a citizen every year for the sake of crops. It is said that " 'Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon.' "

Main Characters

Tessie Hutchinson, also know as Mrs. Hutchinson, is the spouse of Bill Hutchinson. She is also the mother of Bill Jr., and Nancy, and little Dave. Mrs. Hutchinson is very absent-minded and she would rather someone other than herself be sacrificed.


Mr. Summers is the keeper of the black, wooden, shabby box. The box holds a piece of paper for every life in the village.

Irony

The irony in " 'The Lottery' " is that you wouldn't expect a lottery to be fate. Most lotteries that you've heard of, are for the good of the community. So it's kind of odd that this lottery is a life or death matter.


Another example of irony in " 'The Lottery' " is that they sacrifice a person for the sake of another's life. Which this example isn't really that uncommon once you make some of the major, historical word connections. For example, abolitionist John Brown murdered five people to make a point about the freedom of slaves. He thought it was better for a couple to have death at their door, than millions of people who would rather die than be imprisoned any longer.

Symbolism

The stirred up papers in the box represents good fortune.


In the box, there is one slip of paper that stands out from the rest. This piece of paper has a black mark made with a heavy pencil from the coal company office. The black marking represents death.


The black, wooden, shabby, faded, splintered, stained box represents God and how your life is in it's hands. The box also represents fate. It is a life or death matter.

Theme

Some of the main themes of the " 'The Lottery' " are as listed below :



  • Person vs. Nature is one of the major themes because Fate is working against Tessie Hutchinson. Fate is working against a villager every year on the day of June 27th.
  • We all know death is coming; the only questions are : When? Why? How? This is a major theme because every one dies but no one is powerful enough to decide their fate. No one wants to die. Everyone wants to fulfill their life intentions.
  • Sacrifice because sometimes in life you have to give your life for the sake of another. For example, bodyguards risk their life for the safety of the person they are protecting.

Tone

The tone is anxiety. The people of the village are very hesitant and distant from the box. The short story states that "The villagers kept their distance, leaving a space between themselves and the stool." They were frightened of not the box, but what the box held. Another piece of evidence is "And when Mr. Summers said, " ' Some of you fellows want to give me a hand?' " there was a hesitation..."

Conflict

The conflict when Mr. Graves put five slips of paper in the box to represent the Hutchinson family. This is a central conflict because Tessie starts to look around selfishly. She begins to talk about fairness. Mrs. Hutchinson, would rather anyone else but herself to be sacrificed.
Understanding "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson

About Me

"I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go. Things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they're right. You believe lies so you eventually learn to trust. No one but yourself and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together." ~ Marilyn Monroe ~