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How Does Shirley Jackson Use Dramatic Irony In The Lottery

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By incorporating dramatic irony into “The Lottery,” Shirley Jackson is able to convey a sense of understanding and compassion towards the character. This first instance of dramatic irony is where Tessie is pleading to the town’s people that they were unfair to her husband. “People began to look around to see the Hutchinsons. Bill Hutchinson was standing quiet, staring down at the paper in his hand. Suddenly. Tessie Hutchinson shouted to Mr. Summers. ‘You didn’t give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn’t fair’” (Jackson 5)! The readers can see that Bill was not treated unfairly, he was simply unfortunate. Even though it was the luck of the draw, it is still discouraging to pick the marked paper knowing that you have put your family in…show more content…
She realizes that this is an unpleasurable and outdated tradition and should be forgotten only because she got chosen. However, if her family’s name wasn’t drawn, she would have blindly followed the ritual, thrilled to have escaped a gruesome, sacrificial death. As a reader it is easy to empathize for Tessie since she or others don’t have a voice in their community or are even able to look at the bigger picture and see that the lottery is unnecessary. Not only does the dramatic irony of the lottery allow the reader to understand Tessie’s view, it creates a similar feeling towards Bill Hutchinson. For example, “Bill Hutchinson went over to his wife and forced the slip of paper out of her hand. It had a black spot on it, the black spot Mr. Summers had made the night before with the heavy pencil in the coal company office. Bill Hutchinson held it up, and there was a stir in the crowd” (7). It must have been painful and hard for Bill to take the paper from Tessie knowing the she was the winner of the Lottery. But Bill was just going along with everyone else and the reader develops pity for his lack of
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