Attention In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

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In her Story, The Lottery, Shirley Jackson uses attention to detail. Many of the seeming less unconscious details throughout the story foreshadows the gruesome conclusion. In the second paragraph, the kids are seen putting stones in their pockets and making a pile of them. This act is seen as innocent play because a child’s natural tendency is to be mischievous. However, when school ends, they seem uneasy because they know what the stones will be used for. The author on the other hand, does not reveal the use of them which builds up tension. These stones are used to attack the winner of the lottery and kill him/her. These children were indoctrinated into this practice and are almost victimized by adults. Jackson builds up suspense in the story…show more content…
It was his 77th time participating and he is threatened by change. When he hears that the village next door does not do it, he states, “Pack of crazy fools. Listening to the young folks, nothing’s good enough for them” (Jackson 423). He accepts tradition and is superstitious. He believes that if the lottery is not done, then the villagers will have to be hunter-gatherers, “The ritual is the cement that keeps the society from slipping back into a brutish nature” (Barlow). This is turn means returning to another era which he thinks will lead to disaster. The villagers cannot get away from the lottery because they have no freedom. They are not allowed to emerge from anything if they never question it or…show more content…
The cultural context tells the reader that the townspeople have a totalitarism government. This means that they have restrictions and no freedom. This type of government was also seen in Nazi, Germany. Shirley Jackson uses the story to convey how evil has been going on and no one has the courage to ask the question why, “The incident that is a random execution of a member of the community in what appears to be a barbaric primitive ritual grounded in tradition” (Shields). There is irony in this because it is opposite of what is expected. The village blindly accepts the tradition and have caused bizarre murder to become a part of their culture. It is conveyed throughout the story that the villagers do not know why they do the lottery but nevertheless try to preserve it. The lottery is done for three specific reasons. First off, because it is tradition. Second, because people believe it is used to rid the community of evil. Killing someone can be an outlet for people’s anger and issues. The last reason is because it is used as a sacrifice. Stoning has always been a medium to do an act of sacrifice and once can only be done right with shedding of blood. When Mr. Grave states, “Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon” it signifies his fear of a barbaric lifestyle, “These villagers keep the tradition out of habit, superstitious expectations for a better harvest, and paradoxical benefits of a group cohesion despite a deadly
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