Tension And Suspense In Stones By Timothy Findley's The Lottery

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“A good story should make you laugh, and a moment later, break your heart” (Palahniuk). For a story to be considered good, what criteria does one have to consider? Obviously, the story cannot bore the reader, but how does an author keep their audience interested? Three short stories are being compared based on various criteria, and while each story is ‘good’, one is clearly the best. A good story must not only get the reader’s attention with an effective hook, but the hook must also lead to high tension and suspense in order to keep the reader wanting more. A good story should also leave the reader feeling disturbed, either by the events that transpired, or the way they transpired. “Stones” by Timothy Findley, “That`s What Happened to Me” …show more content…
Even though “Stones” by Timothy Findley builds up adequate suspense in the latter half of the story, “The Lottery” makes the reader anticipate and wonder right from the first few sentences. This leads to a satisfying climax. In Jackson’s work, all the suspense and conflict in the story builds toward the climax. The climax consists of one simple question that the readers are left with to ponder: ‘what is really happening in the story?’ The answer to this question is finally answered with the following excerpt at the very end of the story: “A stone hit her on the side of her head,” (Jackson 131). Jackson has finally revealed the sinister plans of the lottery. Inevitably, a satisfying climax can only be reached if the suspense grows constantly and effectively throughout the story, keeping the tension high for as long as possible. Perhaps the clearest event in Jackson’s work that builds suspense occurs when Mr. Adams opposes Old Man Warner’s idea of the continuation of the lottery: “Old Man Warner snorted. ‘Pack of crazy fools...nothing but trouble in [quitting the lottery]’” (127). This causes the reader to question why the townsfolk are considering stopping the lottery, while Old Man Warner advocates strongly for it. Jackson has created a satisfying climax in her work through well written suspense, illustrating the importance of suspense to a good story. In Jackson’s work, suspense plays a key role in allowing …show more content…
“The Lottery” consists of the three crucial criteria of a good story. It not only grabs the reader’s attention in the first lines, it also builds prolonged suspense by not revealing the entire plot right away. Finally, the way Jackson leaves the reader feeling disturbed inspires the reader to want more – wishing there is a sequel. “The Lottery” is certainly not boring to the reader, and has done something correctly, so as to keep the readers interested. Shirley Jackson has set a bar to reach for authors, who are aspiring to write stories as great as

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