Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

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To this day, Shirley Jackson’s, The Lottery, remains one of the most loved, American short stories of all time. The Lottery tells of a small town village of only 300 people having a tradition of holding an annual lottery every year. Throughout the story, the reader may perceive this annual lottery to be a normal occasion that brings this small town together. Until a shocking twist at the end -when the winner of the lottery is to be stoned to death- leaving the reader in surprise and dismay. What really grabs the attention of the audience in this well-known story is the position that Shirley Jackson creates for the narrator, unknowledgeable and unidentifiable. In The Lottery, the point of view throughout the story is very detailed and calm.…show more content…
Shirley Jackson succeeds in meaning to leave the reader expecting for the best, most predictable outcome while reading, but soon leaving an ending that no one was expecting. When this story first came out, many readers wrote letters demanding an explanation and the meaning of The Lottery. Richard Foley displayed an example of Shirley Jackson’s writing choice in “The Lottery”. He writes in his book, “When Is True Belief Knowledge?”, “Someone glances at a clock that is not working and comes to believe it is quarter past seven. It in fact is quarter past seven. Her belief is true, but it isn’t knowledge. Out of this classic example comes a classic philosophical question: what must be added to a true belief in order to make it into a plausible candidate for knowledge?” So, what can make truth believable without prior knowledge? Observation. Richard Foley goes onto believe that observation can be your closest bet to understanding a story, but it could have a drastic ending. Who would’ve known that a small village was capable of such crime? It goes against our perception that a little town was capable of such crime and angst. This also leaves the reader with a new view of the lottery itself and the people in it. The narrator doesn’t say anything to leave you with that assumption though. In one example, Old Man Warner quotes, ““Pack of crazy fools. Listening to the young folks, nothing’s good
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