Shirley Jackson and The Lottery game
Shirley Jackson’s “The Lotto”, addresses the olden mystery of humanity. Jackson as soon as said about the meaning of her literary work, “… I hoped, by setting an especially brutal ancient rite in today and in my own village, to shock the story’s readers with a graphic dramatization of the pointless violence and basic inhumanity in their own lives.” In Shirley Jackson’s, “The Lottery”, the dark side of human nature is skillfully presented through the villagers’ involvement in the lottery game, the contrast of the setting from beginning to end, and the characterization of Tessie Hutchinson.
Jackson’s conveys about humanity that even the most kind-hearted humans are capable of committing such excellent atrocities. The villagers’ willingness to take part in the lotto shows the inhumanity within them. The lotto occasion is completely paradoxical because winning the lotto is typically related to fantastic things such as joy, cash, and luxury, nevertheless, in this story, winning the lottery game implies death. No matter how illogical the event might appear, they are willing to compromise their reasoning to take part in such a bloody occasion. It is interesting to note that the people are even casual about the entire occasion.
For instance, when Mrs. Hutchinson arrives to the event, Mr. Summers states, “‘Well now,’… ‘think we better begin, get this over with, so’s we can go back to work. Anybody ain’t here? ‘” (433 ). It is as though the day is just another day for Mr. Summers and he deals with the lottery as though it is merely trivial. In addition to this, it is also kept in mind that “Individuals had actually done it so many times that they only half listened to the instructions; most of them were quiet, wetting their lips, not browsing” (433 ). This is another example revealing the nonchalant attitude of the people.
The town had actually done this event a lot of times that it has actually become absolutely nothing to them- simply unimportant. They have actually become numb to the extreme reality of the event. The townspeople involvement in a ruthless and random occasion only emphasizes their inhumanity. Villagers maltreat someone chosen at random all because she or he draws the slip of paper marked with a black dot. Everybody has an equivalent chance of being the “winner”- even young kids. They do not need to participate in the lotto, nevertheless they wish to, in spite of all of its troubling elements, which is the uncomfortable concept that Jackson communicates.
The setting and the atmosphere in the start of the story directly contrasts with the extreme ending of it. The beginning of it is totally ironic since one would not anticipate a town like this to be capable of such heinous acts. For example, the beginning is described as, “The early morning of June 27th was clear and warm, with the fresh warmth of a full- summertime day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the yard was richly green” (430 ). Upon reading this in the beginning glimpse, one would not expect the story to end up being a gruesome and horrifying one, yet it turned out to be such that.
Reading on into the story, “The kids assembled initially … they tended to congregate silently for a while before they broke into lively play …” (431 ), the kids explained here appear to be innocent, carefree, and lively. The setting appears to be a serene and stunning town, which in results, sets a calm environment in the story. Initially glimpse, these individuals in this particular town never ever seem to be the type of committing abhorrent deeds such as murder, yet they were all efficient in such, which Jackson was attempting to convey here- that anyone has the capacity to do evil things.
Upon reading the very first sentence, the setting seems a peaceful and lovely town, which effectively sets a calm atmosphere in the beginning of the story. On the other hand, the setting at the ending is referred to as dark and brutal. For instance, “Tessie Hutchinson was in the center of a cleared area by now and she held out her hands desperately as the villagers moved in on her … A stone struck her on the side of the head … ‘It isn’t reasonable, it isn’t right,’ Mrs. Hutchinson screamed and after that they were upon her” (436 ).
This is totally various from the start of the story. The irony of the setting is that it is a charming, tranquil town with all sorts of people who seem very typical. It looks like the type of place one would want to reside in and the kind of individuals one would want to live with. But then, in this great location, something terrible is going on. This is paradoxical since it is something that is entirely unforeseen. One would not expect to see something as dreadful as the lottery event to occur in such a stunning location like this town.
The setting is among the aspects that make the story more terrible. There is even also a hint of foreshadowing and importance present in this story. For instance, in the earlier setting, “Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets loaded with stones, and the other young boys soon followed his example, selecting the best and roundest stones …” (431 ). The kids of this town gather stones and put them in their pockets and into stacks, which seems like simply routine children playing, up until their violent use for them is revealed at the end of the story.
By using an amazing amount of paradox through the setting, the story is a lot more significant and effective. It leaves an effect on the readers in that even though the setting may appear serene and individuals may seem typical, anybody can be capable of committing evil. The character, Tessie Hutchinson, works as a mirror to the readers revealing one’s inner dark side. Tessie is an example of situational irony in the story. She is delighted about the lottery and fully ready to participate in it, nevertheless, when her hubby’s name is drawn, and after that her name, she objects that the lottery game is not fair.
This is evident here, “‘Clean forgot what day it was,’ she stated to Mrs. Delacroix … and they both laughed gently” (432 ). Tessie Hutchinson is seen joking about the lottery game and imitating the occasion does not even phase her, till her husband and then ultimately herself is picked as the sacrifice at the end of the story. When it is found out that Costs Hutchinson has the marked paper, Tessie even goes as far as to betray Don and Eva, her child and son-in-law, exclaiming, “There’s Don and Eva … Make them take their possibility!” (435 ).
She is just looking out for her own interests here. Rather of quiting herself to die, which would be the brave thing to do, she offers up her kid and child- in law, Don and Eva as sacrifice. Once she is chosen to be killed, everybody- even her own friends and family betray her and are quick to stone her to death. Mrs. Delacroix, the same lady who was chuckling and talking with Tessie Hutchinson, is the one who “… selected a stone so big she needed to choose it up with both hands and turned to Mrs. Dunbar … ‘Hurry up'”( 436 ), like as if Tessie was nothing to her anymore.
What is much more troubling is that “… somebody gave little Davy Hutchinson a few pebbles” (436 ). This shows innocence of kids made use of for the sake of killing somebody. It does not matter whether the selected person is family or friend, when he or she is chosen, they automatically end up being a target of callous killing. In addition, it is not till she is selected as the “winner”, that she realizes the injustice and evil in this scenario and screams, “It isn’t reasonable, it isn’t right” (436 ). This is where the paradox lies.
Previously in the story, Tessie was more than willing to take part in the lottery, and in fact, was smiling and laughing with Mrs. Delacroix, nevertheless, now that she is the selected one, it is all of a sudden not fair. This is significant since if she had actually not been selected, she would not be protesting, but rather she would be taking part in the event, which reveals the darkness in mankind. It is thought-provoking that Jackson, through the character Tessie, communicates that people may enjoy seeing evil being done unto others, nevertheless, not enjoy it being done to themselves, particularly in this case, violence.
Shirley Jackson’s “The Lotto” cleverly exposes the dark side of humanity. The lotto, in this story, is not a game one would want to win, nevertheless, it is a game that depicts the evil side of humanity. This is a side of mankind few individuals would want to see or perhaps confess to. Inhumanity is inherit even in the most tender-hearted individuals. In this story, the townspeople willingness to play the lottery, the creative contrast of the story’s beginning and end, and the character Tessie Hutchinson showcases the dark side of humanity. No one is immune from evil.