Individuality and Community in “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson

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"The Lottery" a short story was written by Shirley Jackson, is a fiction story about disorganizing norm. The setting takes place in a small community consisting of about 300 citizens. Each year, head of the family of this community hold a community-wide lottery in which everyone is to participate. Throughout the video, the viewer gets a gutful feeling regarding the residents and their practice each year. Towards the ending of the video both male or female get to know more about what the lottery is all about and how dangerous it is. Thus, from the beginning of the video until the end, there is an enormous sense that something terrible is about to happen due to the director's effect use of foreshadowing through the picture of characters and setting. Effect foreshadowing forms expectations for the main theme of the story- the worthless nature of humanity for the traditions and inhumanity.

The first hint that suggest the flaw of this lottery is seen in the YouTube video. The narrator describes the day as very lovely, but strikes between the pleasant atmosphere of the town and the activity of the people that are gathering in the yard. ""Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pant pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example...eventually made a great pile of stones in one corner of the square and guarded it against the raids of the other boys"". Through this act, one has to wonder why the male and female are doing this, purpose? The stones shows a big role of what's going to happen at end when someone gets selected

The children have circled around while the men fill the circle followed by the women. ""They stood together, away from the pile of stones in the corner"". The fact that they stood away from the stones, again, informs the viewers that the stones will play a significant role of the video. Stress amongst the people is due to the children are unwillingness to join their parents in the circle. At the particular moment everybody knew that lottery would have a violent ending.

This lottery doesn't cause the personal feeling but however the lotteries are known for bring the upsetting feeling for everyone in town and how major it is to the community. When Mr. Summers cites in the YouTube video, ""Well now...guess we better get started, get this over with, so we can get back to work,"" it sounds like this drawing is not going to be as long and as serious, according to his calm voice. But in return to Mr. Summers, Old Man Warner said, ""Bad enough to see young Joe Summers up there joking with everybody"". This stated that this drawing will be no ""laughing matter."" However; it's obviously going to make a major impact on someone's life.

As the climax approaches, Mr. Summers begins calling names and the local people present themselves, to pull slips of paper out of the little black lottery box. In a way, this box is representative of the dislike to change. The old and crack sides of it show that this community as a whole, cling on to what is familiar and traditional rather than going for a change. The black box itself illuminates a shocking feeling. It could have been any other color, but the director of the video uses black to insinuate the evil that is about to occur at the end.

The story finally comes to its climax when everyone begins to unfold the slip that he or she has randomly chosen. This scene adds suspense to the story, which makes it more unexplainable. ""For a minute, no one moved, and then all the slips of paper were opened. Suddenly, all the women began to speak at once, saying, 'Who is it?'... 'Bill Hutchinson's got it'"". Here, more clues are given, and the reader only knows that something is going to happen to the Hutchinson's, but what the prize is he or she does not know until the end of the story. After all the gloomy foreshadowing and Mrs. Hutchinson crying that the lottery is not ""fair,"" the prize of this traditional drawing is anything but pleasant. The stones that are mentioned at the beginning of the story now re-enter the plot and cause damage. The director use of foreshadowing, the reader finally finds out what the lottery ""winner"" will receive. All of the members of the village go the pile of stones, fill their hands with the stones and threw them at Mrs. Hutchinson as she screams ""It isn't fair, it isn't right"".

From this ending scene, the cruelty of this community is plain. The people knew that every year there is going to be this unwanted lottery, and yet they maintain a sense of humor to accompany their uneasiness, given Mr. Summers's attitude. No one in town questions the annual practice and the origin of the black box but accepts it as a natural part of his or her life. Therefore, this video portrays that tradition overrides change no matter how bad it is. In this case, the town doesn't seem to depart from its annual practice in an attempt to preserve people's lives. Life in this community is not as important and can perish easily. The pieces of paper that are lifted away by the breeze at the end of the video is represent of the ease with which life, in this particular community, can be taken away.

In conclusion, this story gives more clues as to what will happen at the end of the video as it progresses. The director uses and portrays the characters to perfection. The fact that every character act mysteriously at a point in this story insinuates a climax. The way a character acts and how he or she talks, like Old Man Warner, helps prepare the reader for a practice that the residents are carrying out. Along with the portrayal of characters, the director also uses a cryptic setting to intensify the annual event. The activity of the people contradicts the pleasant ambiance of the town. When the foreshadowing job reaches its goal, it leads to the ending point of the video. Through this climax, the reader sees the inhumanity of the residents and how they underestimate life for this specific practice.

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Individuality and Community in "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson. (2019, Dec 18). Retrieved December 9, 2023 , from

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