Who Is Portrayed In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery?

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When "The Lottery" was first published in the New Yorker during the June of 1948 criticism was loaded onto author Shirley Jackson by the bushel; with its optimistic title, "The Lottery" drew readers in with the promise of an uplifting story of luck and fortune only to shock and repulse readers into frenzy. Jackson received hundreds of letters from readers expressing their upmost dissatisfaction with the story, the New Yorker lost numerous subscribers, and several people even wrote to Jackson to ask about where such a village could be, so they could witness the ritual depicted in "The Lottery" firsthand. The controversy surrounding "The Lottery" is not necessarily unwarranted considering the time period and subject matter discussed; it only…show more content…
Hutchinson arrives late to the Lottery, instantly setting herself apart from the crowd. She runs into the town square with "her sweater thrown over her shoulders" and mingles with the crowd, remarking to Mrs. Delacroix that she had "Clean forgot what day it was," a surprising remark for someone to make about a day of such grave importance to the village. (294) As Mrs. Hutchinson makes her way through the crowd to her family she continues to engage in friendly small talk, and even quips to Mr. Summers who had been waiting for her to arrive that he "Wouldn't have me leave m'dishes in the sink, now, would you, Joe?" (295) Mrs. Hutchinson's cheery demeanor is strangely out of place amid the crowd of solemn villagers waiting to witness ritualistic murder, making her a perfect scapegoat for the Lottery's draw. As the ritual proceeds the villagers notice Clyde Dunbar, who had broken his leg, is not in the crowd, so his wife volunteers to draw for him instead, to which Mr. Summers asks if she has a grown boy to do it for her, again reinforcing the patriarchal nature of the village and the perceived weakness of the women.…show more content…
Shirley Jackson could have easily written the draw to take place alphabetically and not in groups of families, which would easily speed up and create a much more efficient draw; however she clearly chose to write the Lottery in such a way that it almost parodies the nuclear family ideal that began to emerge in the time period published. As Mr. Hutchinson's turn to draw arrives, Mrs. Hutchinson breaks the silence of the crowd by cheering him on, again emphasizing the distinction between her and the other wives, who typically wait in silence for their own turn.

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