Analysis Of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

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Everyone has a different set of criteria when they decide whether a piece of writing is good or not. I have my own criteria as well. Although there are so many elements that influence an impression of a piece of writing, I narrowed it down to three; Is it open to various interpretations? Is it easy to understand? Is it realistic? These three are the most important factors when I evaluate a novel or a movie. Based on these criteria, I think Shirley Jackson’s ‘The Lottery’ is a good story. First, ‘The Lottery’ is open to diverse interpretations. Some people might wonder why this is a standard for a good writing. I believe that art (novel, movie, music, drawing, etc.) is completed when its artist and its audience work together to develop its…show more content…
It sounds like a weakness, but it isn’t. As ‘The Lottery’ is a short story, the author doesn’t expound each and every detail. There is a ‘vacuum’ in the story, but it is a desirable vacuum. It leaves a room for diverse imaginations, accommodating an active participation of its readers. For example, the author doesn’t give much information about the lottery or characters. All we know about the lottery is that it is an old tradition that involves murder. Thus, its readers inevitably have to imagine the missing parts to fill the vacuum of the story; ‘Is this a conspiracy of Mr. Summers to get rid of a villager that he hates?’ ‘What is the origin of the tradition?’ ‘What kind of person Tessie Hutchinson used to be?’ Through these kinds of thoughts, readers end up with their own interpretations of the story. Moreover, the author uses a lot of symbols. A nice example would be the ‘black box’. It can mean an old and useless tradition or it can mean an authority. Or it can be a symbol of violence. If the black box is interpreted as violence, the topic of the story would be ‘human’s capability of using violence’ or ‘human’s insensibility to violence when they act as a mob’. On the other…show more content…
To me, a realistic story is one that leads its readers to be absorbed into the story. Not only it’s more entertaining, but more importantly, it encourages readers to take the story more seriously. When a story is realistic, people tend to feel that such an event is actually happening in some part of the world. This way, the author’s purpose to influence its readers and the society can be more effectively achieved. ‘The Lottery’ is a realistic story because it includes detailed descriptions of the atmosphere, the characters’ behavior and dialogue. For example, the author writes that ‘…… and their jokes were quiet and they smiled rather than laughed. …… There was a long pause, a breathless pause ……. no one moved, and then all the slips of paper were opened.’ This is a pretty detailed description, helping readers to better imagine the atmosphere of the day of the lottery. Another example would be how the author ‘illustrates’ the moment when Tessie was chosen as the scapegoat. Instead of directly saying that ‘Tessie Hutchinson was the winner of the lottery’, the author demonstrates the scene in detail, enabling readers to fully feel the moment. Ultimately, it encourages readers to actively participate in discussions that are related to the topic of the story, whatever it may be. These discussions increase the story’s value and consequently, benefit the

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