Internal Conflict In The Lottery

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The story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson is a short story of horror and realism. Residents of a small New England town come together in the town square every year and hold their annual lottery. The head of each household goes up and pulls out a slip of paper from the sacred black box. The person who pulls out a slip of paper with a black dot, wins the lottery. This time around the Hutchinsons were the family who pulled out the black dot and one of the family members gets the chance to win the lottery (Jackson 1). Although “the lottery” sounds like something everybody wants to win, Shirley Jackson uses symbols, conflict and irony to show otherwise.
In literature, a symbol is “a person, place, or thing that represents something often
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When her husband, Bill Hutchinson, pulled out the slip of paper with the black dot, she protested that they didn’t give her husband enough time to pull out the slip of paper that he wanted. The author stated that Tessie yelled out at Mr. Summers, “ You didn’t give him enough time to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn’t fair!” (5) Her protest caused her beloved husband, Bill, to yell at her and tell her to shut up. Other characters in the story such as Mrs. Graves and Mrs. Delacroix also went against her and told her to be a good sport about the lottery. They also told her that every family had the same chance. (Jackson)
The use of irony in this short story is impossible to miss. According the the dictionary, the definition of “irony” is, “a technique that involves surprising, interesting, or amusing contradictions or contrasts. verbal irony occurs when words are used to suggest the opposite of their usual meaning. an irony of situation is when an event occurs that directly contradicts expectations.” In this case, irony is the main literary device that makes this story a magnificent piece of literature.
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