Understanding The Irony In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

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Understanding the Irony in Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”
When someone wins the lottery they should win money or prizes or maybe even an expense paid vacation. No one ever dreams of being the winner of your own stoning. Shirley Jackson wrote about a cold blooded murder that the reader would not be prepared for and would lend to the shock value of becoming emotionally involved in this story. The reader is gently pushed in the direction of comfort and safety when the story begins through Jackson 's ironic themed style of writing. By writing the story in this way she takes the reader by complete surprise. Because the readers are kept in suspense, they are not given any specific details of meeting just that they are gathering in the courtyard
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Defined by Dictionary.com as irony involving a situation in which actions have an effect that is opposite from what was intended, so that the outcome is contrary to what was expected. Because Jackson began this style of writing it would lay a false sense of security from the very first lines of her story. The story begins, “The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green.”(1) We right away feel safe and think of the friendliness of a small community. We remember to ourselves of carefree days with cool breezes and no dark thoughts or oppression bearing down on this small quite town. Jackson continues to begin developing an image of a small community and the normal actions that the children that played nearby. After we begin to have the idea fully established the story will begin to show other traits of verbal and dramatic irony. Having the setting laid out in such a fashion clearly shows a great example of how situational irony is used. The underlying truth is far from the peaceful town Jackson leads you to believe. As the setting has been laid Jackson starts to develop the characters that provide additional examples of using situational irony. The character who conducts the lottery is Mr. Summers. He in turn enlists the assistance of Mr. Graves. Both of the names the men that have the task of …show more content…
We now start beginning to look for any main clues as to who the winner will be and what prize is going to be given. As Jackson starts using verbal irony with the characters we are questioning the reasons and purpose they are attending the lottery. When the story turns to Mrs. Tessie Hutchinson showing up where everyone was already gathered and remarked "Clean forgot what day it was".(3) She expressed no thought of importance of the date and all seemed as if it was just as any other day. Although that is one, the best example comes from Mr. Summers when the late Mrs. Hutchinson reached her husband, and Mr. Summers, who had been waiting, said cheerfully. "Thought we were going to have to get on without you, Tessie."(3) This use of verbal irony is laid out as an ambiguous threat. While Mr. Summers makes sure he goes over the names of every person in town and why they are not there we begin to think that the town would not have let Tessie remain absent from the lottery. Having personal instinctive reactions to what we traditionally believe in and how we believe in it, at this point in the story we should be on guard for a different ending that was starting to emerge in the story. There is no clear concrete evidence that shows the horrific outcome that is about to be exposed as the lottery proceeds, so we

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