Violence In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

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Writer Andy Weir once said in his writing that “The worst moments in life are heralded by small observations.” The quote has quite a lot of ties to Shirley Jackson's The Lottery. In the lottery, a local lottery was held in which the “winner” would receive something that was classified for most of the story. The “prize” would end up being something negative and arguably horrific. The lottery was an annual thing that was continued due to traditional reasons. In the story, the people in the town and their actions and behavior somewhat suggest how horrific the thing received but the winner is. Their actions during the lottery almost or even completely foreshadow that said thing. Through depictions of the nervousness of the adults and children…show more content…
As spoken of earlier, two of the townspeople, Mr. Martin and his son, Baxter, hesitated to help Mr. Summers out with the Black Box. Hesitation is usually a sign of nervousness or anxiety. The fact that there was a long hesitation to make a small contribution to the success of the lottery shows something is a bit suspect in regards to the lottery. During the lottery, the townspeople were shown to be very tense and the atmosphere itself was quite intense. For example, at one point, Nancy, a young lady, went up to draw in the lottery. Her school friends breathed heavily as she went up to draw. Mrs. Delacroix, another person taking part in the lottery held her breath while her husband went forth to draw. The crowd seemed very quiet and just nervous during the main point of the lottery. This is showing that something negative was going to transpire as the nervous atmosphere was not a positive nervous atmosphere. After Mrs. Hutchinson drew and it was time to announce the “winner”, she refused to show her slip due to how nervous she was of what was on her slip. Mr. Hutchinson had to force the slip out of her hand. Everyone else’s slips were revealed to be blank and the fact that she refused to show her slip shows it was not a good thing that she “won”. The strange behaviors, and negative nervousness of the people, including the intensity of the atmosphere, indicate something unpleasant would come from the
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