“The Lottery Ticket” is a classic short story written by Antony Chekhov. He is a good storyteller who has managed to use some literary elements in this story. Chekhov’s “the lottery ticket” is a story about a man and his wife who thought they had won a lottery. The stories walk the reader through a series of fantasy regarding this family’s imagination of what they would do with the money in case they won a lottery (Chekhov, 2004). This story has two characters; Ivan Dmitritch and his wife whom they live together. It is built progressively from the beginning to the end, giving the reader an image of the imaginations of these two characters. Chekhov talks about what Dmitritch and his wife would do with the money if they happen to win the lottery. However, this paper is focused on analyzing the literary elements employed by Chekhov in this story starting from the plot, point of view, characters as well as the setting.
Since from the beginning, the story has built a plot of what is happening until the end. Plot is one of the literary element used by Chekhov in this story. In this plot, Ivan Dmitritch is a middle-class person who lives with his family (Chekhov, 2004). When the story begins, he is contented as he sits on a sofa reading a paper while his wife is cleaning the dishes. She asked her husband to check for the lottery number, and he asks what the number is where she responds that it is 9499 26. Ivan indeed found that the first number is 9499 and dropped the paper which fell on his knees (Kopaniasz, 2014). He and his wife both started daydreaming about winning the seventy-five thousand and what they would do with the money. In their next few minutes, they started dreaming about buying a new house and traveling. They both began making plans on how to spend the money (Kopaniasz, 2014). They get so excited about winning the money while smiling and fantasizing on what they will do with the money. As the story unfolds, Ivan started imagining of his wife traveling without him and thought of her becoming stingy with the money. He hates the idea of her owning such amount of money. On the other hand, the wife starts thinking that her husband will be after the money. Since it is her money, she begins hating him for desiring her money (Chekhov, 2004).
Chekhov used the plot to make the story interesting to the reader by the image of how a typical middle-class man and his wife had already spent the money even before they got it. Eventually, the husbands look to confirm if it is indeed true that they had won the money. Unfortunately, the number on the next page is 46 instead of 26. When they find out that they did not win, they both came back to earth from their dream, and immediately hatred and hope both disappeared at once. The plot has all the literary features of a plot. There is exposition by introducing the family and mentioning of the lottery ticket (Coulter & Smith, 2009). The rising action begins when Ivan finds out the number 9499 given by his wife. As the story progresses, there is a climax when Ivan found out that the number does not match the winning number hence they did not win. The falling action of this story is when Ivan dreaded to live the life he lives while blaming the devil and questioning the audacity (Kopaniasz, 2014). In this plot, the writer is able to capture the attention of the reader by providing an exciting scenario of winning a lottery and how people think once they expect to get a huge amount of money.
Another literary element used by Chekhov on “The Lottery Ticket” is the point of view. Chekhov uses this literary element to keep the reader interested in the story by building a picture of him telling the story on the mind of the reader (Kopaniasz, 2014). He uses the third-person point of view which helps the reader to see the story unfolds from another view. The third-person point of view is evident in this story from the beginning to the last part of the story. However, he managed to employ the first-person point of view indirect quotations of the characters’ conversation on the dialogues. For instance, the third person point of view is seen when Chekhov says that “Looking at his wife, Ivan Dmitritch gave a broad, senseless smile…” (Chekhov, 2004, 3). The point of view has managed to put the reader in a position to feel the connection with the story but not a too close one. The reader feels sorry for the family of Ivan Dmitritch for not winning the lottery and getting to stay their usual life despite their dream.
The use of characters is another literary element used by Chekhov in “the lottery ticket”. This story has two main characters who include Ivan Dmitritch and his wife. In his element of characterization, Chekhov does not directly reveal about Ivan rather than he is poor and middle-aged (Vigil, 2017). However, his character gets clearly revealed through his through his speech and consciousness in the story. Progressively, his hatred, greed, and cynicism are exposed through his actions, feelings and the choice of words he uses (Kopaniasz, 2014). His wife Masha is not given a definitive although her innocence is shown through Ivan’s harsh words.
The setting of this story is in the house of Ivan and his wife, Masha. They are in the dining room since we are told that Ivan “sat down on the sofa after supper and began reading the newspaper” (Chekhov, 2004, 1). While on the other hand, his wife was clearing the table after they had their supper (Kopaniasz, 2014). The reader views the setting as a right way of picturing that the story being told looks more realistic through the use of a familiar setting that everyone can relate to the story.
“The lottery ticket” is a story of a middle-class family of Ivan and his wife, Masha. They are lottery players, and on one day after supper, they thought they had won the lottery. The story progresses, and the readers view how Chekhov builds this family. They start dreaming of their win and how to spend the money, but in the climax, they, unfortunately, did not win. Chekhov has managed to employ different literary elements in this story to make it more interesting to the reader. Ranging from the plot to the use of characters, the point of view and setting, the story unfolds interestingly.
Chekhov, A. (2004). The lottery ticket. The Online English Library.
Coulter, C. A., & Smith, M. L. (2009). The construction zone: Literary elements in narrative research. Educational Researcher, 38(8), 577-590.
Kopaniasz, J. (2014). “The Lottery Ticket” By: Anton Chekhov. Prezi.com. Retrieved 25 November 2017, from https://prezi.com/fqptom2znefc/the-lottery-ticket-by-anton-chekhov/
Vigil, J. (2017). Literary Elements: Definition, Types & Examples – Video & Lesson Transcript | Study.com. Study.com. Retrieved 25 November 2017, from https://study.com/academy/lesson/literary-elements-definition-types-examples.html
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