Shirley Jackson's The Lottery Essay Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1226 Words
Date:  2022-10-11

Shirley Jackson's The Lottery is one of America's most well-known short stories. It was first published in 1948. The psychological aspects of the story quickly made it popular. The following analysis will detail The Lottery.

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The Lottery Analysis Essay Introduction

Annual events make up the "lottery" part of the story. Friends and family randomly choose a victim to be stoned. It was done to ensure future harvests would yield enough food. This reason was not remembered at the time of the story. The author creates a very convincing atmosphere about the "normality" of such an event. Everyone in the village believes that this practice is natural, and they are happy to accept it.

The night before the event, lottery arrangements begin. Mr. Graves and Mr. Summers create a list of all the large families in town. Each family will receive a set of lottery tickets. Except for the one marked with a dark dot, all of these tickets can be left blank. The slips are folded in half and placed in a wooden box that Mr. Summers keeps in the office.

Shirley Jackson's story, The Lottery (short story), shows how many sins humanity has committed. It is set in an American remote village. Traditions and customs are dominant in this area.

"Death" is the ultimate fate of all the activities in this story. It can be seen as a redeemer for many atrocities committed against one another by individuals. The Lottery analysis essay introduces the setting and character methods.

Analysis of the Lottery

The most powerful characterization tools are actions and general behavior. Although there are not many, they do make up the majority of the book.

The story portrays Mrs. Delacroix, a determined lady with quick temper. It is evident in her action of picking up a large stone. She had to grab the rock with her two hands ...." (Shirley, 76).

Jackson's condemnation of humankind's hypocrisy is evident in the events of the story. The story is by Shirley 281. The reader hopes that the lottery will be beneficial to the villager. However, such a practice does not bring any value to the village.

Jackson portrays horrible and horrendous things in an everyday manner that suggests human evilness. The book depicts every evil act in a relaxed and friendly setting. It becomes evident that humans are deceiving by nature.

The entire story is presented in a way that does not seem menacing until the end. This threat is clearly foreshadowed by the author, illustrated by Mr. Summers (who is responsible for the lottery) and Mr. Graves. The description of Mr. Summers makes it seem like he is a respected member the local society. He coordinates many social events.

Although Mr. Summers is a moderate character, he is dangerous. Jackson (282), says that Mr. Summers is "very good at all this..... with one hand carelessly resting on the black box, he seemed very important as he talked interminably to Mr. Graves and the Martins." Jackson (282) says that Summers was "very good at ..... with one handed carelessly resting on a black box. He seemed very important and proper as he spoke interminably to Mr. Graves, the Martins." Although these practices may seem common for village norms. These practices are a serious violation of human rights for the reader.

The atmosphere of actual events is represented by the principal characters in the story. The name "Summers", for example, symbolizes the main theme of the story and the end result of the whole event (Marshall 3).

The name of Mr. Summers' friend Mr. Graves, who was his assistant in the lottery events, symbolises the wickedness of ordinary villager. To portray such absurdity, the author uses these names.

The lottery is a short story that shows the weak and deceitful natures of human beings. This practice has been in place for many years. Yet, it seems that no one doubts its negative effect on the local populace. "There has always been a lottery and nobody has ever been anxious about it...everyone just goes with it This is a glimpse of how hypocritical people have become in the village.

Hyman (35), claims that despite the fact that humans were denied their rights to life, no one expressed fear or disgust. This is a far cry from human cruelty. Everything is done calmly and in accordance with the law.

Marshall (3) suggests that such an atmosphere is a reflection of how hypocritical and wicked people are. Even Mrs. Hutchinson is affected by this. She protests and rebels against the lottery. It is not surprising that she is made to pay the price for her protest against the lottery act. Before Mrs. Hutchinson is sacrificed, she doesn't speak out against the cruelty to her villager neighbors (Hyman 46). This event shows that any defiance against the lottery is quickly hampered. All goes as normal.

The dominant theme can be seen in our analysis of The Lottery. These "cultural norms" or laws are only objectionable if they cause harm to the person. Even though we may appear friendly, the death of Mrs. Hutchinson is a reminder of the humankind's eternal evil nature.

The Lottery: Conclusion

The Lottery literary analysis concludes with the story's unfolding. It shows how people treat each other. It is likely that it occurs in accordance with cultural beliefs or practices. The lottery act is a violation of human nature. These evils are often condoned by individuals without considering their negative consequences.

The story ends with Mrs. Hutchinson, who is the "light of hope" in liberalization. This proves that man is corrupt and evil. The short story essentially describes social malfeasances society commits to one another as if they were everyday events.


Hyman, Stanley. The Presentation of Evil in “The Lottery”. 2000, New Jersey: Bantam Publishing Co.

Jackson, Shirley. The Lottery. 1948, New York: McGraw-Hill Publishers.

Marshall, Garry. Analysis of “The Lottery” a Short Story by Shirley Jackson. 2003, New York: Lori Voth Publishers.


What is Shirley Jackson's literary analysis of The Lottery?

The purpose of The Lottery literary analysis essay, is to describe methods and the setting. The story's event should not be the sole focus. Analyzing the story within a wider context of human psychology is another important objective.

How can you write a literary analysis essay about The Lottery?

Start The Lottery: Critical analysis of the book and author's background stories. Include every character, personality traits and behavior in your essay. End your literary analysis on The Lottery with the main idea.

What was Shirley Jackson's message to The Lottery?

Shirley Jackson attempts to shed some light on the dangers of blindly following tradition. The book shows the village meeting on the town square for the annual lottery to death. Its existence is unquestioned, regardless of how cruel and abusive it may be.

Why was Mrs. Hutchinson so late to the lottery?

Tessie Hutchinson arrives late for the lottery, as she has forgotten what day it is. It is obvious to all the villager and they quickly draw their own conclusions. They begin to see her as a different person, even threatening. Bill Hutchinson accepts her fate.

What does The Lottery's stone symbolise?

The stones in The Lottery represent the execution method described in the Bible. People used the same methods to execute those who violated law or tradition. The stones demonstrate the brutality of the crowd capable of such terrible actions.

Cite this page

Shirley Jackson's The Lottery Essay Example. (2022, Oct 11). Retrieved from

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