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"The Lottery"

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Angela Fu

on 5 November 2012

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Transcript of "The Lottery"

"The Lottery" Shirley Jackson Plot Characters Conflict Style Theme Setting The Lottery is an extreme ritual that brings up how dangerous tradition can be when people follow it blindly. Therefore, the main message in this story is to not follow tradition blindly. Thank you for your undivided attention! Angela Fu, Danilo Valle, Michelle Ly, Nick Lau, Willy Deng Tessie Hutchinson
Mr. Summers
Old Man Warner
Bill Hutchinson
* Society Bill Hutchinson Farmer
Husband of Tessie
The first stage representative of his family
He is part of society
Respects the outcome of The Lottery
Responds to the result of the lottery in the same way society does Old Man Warner The oldest man in the village
Therefore, he has survived through the most lotteries
Due to participating in several lotteries, it has become a part of his life
Has a negative view on change concerning the lottery:
Believes that the town would be uncivilized without it Mr .Summers Known as the leader of the village
He organizes the grand events of the village
Although, he continues to run The Lottery, he was not the creator
Just like the lottery itself, he is accepted and is a part of the village Tessie Hutchinson The protagonist of the story
Wife of Bill Hutchinson
She is an outcast to an extent
Although she participates in the lottery, her priority towards it is not as high as everyone else
She has always been aware of the consequences of The Lottery and never complained about them before. However, she claims how unfair it is when her family is chosen. Society Serves as the antagonist of the story
Follows the tradition regardless of its history and cruelty
Based on this tradition, they are primitive and uncivilized
There are no emotional opinions by society on the bizarreness of how the ritual is completed
The tradition is just something that society has always done, and will continue doing
It is human nature to want to be like everyone else, and follow whatever society does and accepts
Aside from the evil Tessie expresses, society also shows evil by engaging in the brutal act of the final step of the lottery
There is an annual lottery event where the townsmen all gather to draw out individual slips of paper, and one of them is marked with a black dot. The turning point of the story is when Bill wins the lottery, that is when the readers realize that winning the lottery is not really the most exciting reward. The onset of the story reveals all of the tranquil actions of the townspeople, such as children going home from school and men getting off from work.

Towards the middle of the story, readers find the townspeople drawing out slips of paper, and the story concluded with Tessie's death. Everyone in the town comes to this event, however, one woman by the name of Tessie Hutchinson arrives late and is frowned upon. As the story progresses, readers find that she is ironically killed by the town because she wins the lottery. The conflict of the story is external The main problem in the story is that no one realizes the traditions they have been following for years are arbitrary and inhuman. The conflict centers around Tessie and the tradition in the village. Between Tessie and the society In the story, it is clear that Tessie Hutchinson is different from all the other villagers.
Unlike everyone else in the story, she does not find the annual lottery as important as it is to all the other villagers. She is the only person who is late for the lottery .

All the other women in the village assemble calmly and wait for their husbands and children to join them while Tessie runs hurriedly to the square because she forgets that it is the 27th annual lottery. Also, she is the only person who complains about the fairness of the lottery.

Even her husband, Bill tells her to be quiet. This event immediately separates Tessie from the rest of the community. It is obvious that Tessie is different from the start of the story, however, it is not clear whether she would react differently if her family is not the chosen one. Everyone in the village respects the tradition except for Tessie.
The tragic ending of Tessie's life delivers the theme of how traditions are sometimes unnecessary and one should not follow traditions blindly. When Tessie comments how unjust the drawing of the lottery is, this act foreshadows the true sinful nature of drawing the lottery and something bad will result. At the end of the story, readers are left to think about any rituals or traditions that we may carelessly follow in our society. Shirley Jackson uses many literary elements in helping her develop the theme. From seeing what the characters has gone through, the writer tries to make readers more aware of the fact that because everyone does something, it does not necessarily mean that it is correct or logical (the concept of conformity). The town is so focused on how things were and how things have always been that they can not see any new or improved ways of living What is Shirley Jackson saying about human nature? - humans generally do not like change -humans can be selfish and sacrificial if it means saving themselves. ( we can see this by how Tess brings up that she has another daughter in hopes up decreasing her chance of getting chosen.) -it isn't natural for humans to want to bring up change and speak up against the dominating group. -humans can easily lose confidence and do not stand their grounds once someone else comments against them Overall,
Shirley Jackson brings up many important points about humans and life. The black dot on the slip of paper gives an ominous impression to people a vague glimpse to how evil the lottery is, which ultimately confuses the readers. Irony and her casual/innocent style of writing are two examples which bring up the idea that violence and cruel acts can happen anywhere, anytime, and even by the most unpredictable people. This plays into the psycho-logical aspect of the human mind that when the majority of humans act together, it brings self-confidence and a sense of courage to act in a certain way-even if it illogical. We should not fear standing out if it means doing the right thing. In addition, even if traditions and rituals have been followed for years, it has to be assessed accordingly to the changing times of modernization. We should always think before we act, have our own thoughts in things and try to steer away from being the "followers" of the society. -the horror of man's natural evil The style of Shirley Jackson's writing in this short story is very casual and innocent. The story takes place in a small nameless village that is isolated from the rest of the world.

"The Lottery" was written in June of 1948 at New York. The place where the story was written did not impact the story because it is universal, but when it was written does, this is because since the story was written so long ago the way we follow tradition has changed completely. The author could have been inspired by a strange tradition during the time. Being in the family chosen, she expresses the evil nature that exists in humans
When her family is selected she fights for her life trying to escape the ritual by begging for someone else to get stoned
Within her family she is the one selected
While everyone else continues with the rest of the tradition by picking up stones, she also continues to complain about the unfairness until she is stoned to death The story begins with boys in the town gathering stones.
The person who draws the slip with the dot ultimately ends up being stoned to death. The time is around 10:00 am on June 27th. Jackson did not give the village a name nor a more specific description because she was criticizing the corruption of the state as a whole. This is very realistic because most rituals in societies take place in summer as it is a time to celebrate. It is written in a way that seems relaxed and does not give away any hints about what the lottery is actually about. The tone of her voice is simple, innocent and dark in a sense. The readers are kept in the dark until the very end.


She is able to do this by making everything in the beginning seem peaceful and like another peaceful day in the village.


Throughout the whole story, her calm tone tricks readers into thinking this is a story merely for entertainment.


It is the ultimate realization at the end of the story, when Tessie gets stoned to death that readers finally find out what the lottery actually is. While reading the story, the reader's mind is constantly kept curious about what the lottery is and what "prize" is won. Moreover, no one would have expected this tragic and cruel consequence of being the "winner".

Her style of writing brings the story and events forward , however readers might notice missing pieces of information while reading it.

The story gives a sense of darkness and suspense the closer we are to the ending. The style of her writing and suspense relates to the theme of the story in that acts of violence can occur anywhere, anytime and even by the most average person.

The way readers are kept in the dark until the very end reminds us that it is possible to be blind about actions and behaviors we sometimes do. The way the author illustrates the reaction of the townspeople allows readers to convey that the characters are oblivious to the extreme cruelty of their tradition and the evil that mankind possesses. How the story proceeds People in the village seem excited for the annual lottery.
Tessie Hutchinson (Protagonist) is late for the event because she forgets about it.
The lottery begins, each family representatives go up to draw a slip of paper.
Bill (Tessie's husband) wins the lottery.
Tessie panics and questions the fairness of the lottery.
Hutchinson's family members have to draw again.
Tessie wins the lottery.
She questions the fairness of the lottery again
She is stoned to death.
Full transcript