Irony in the Lottery

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Irony in Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery Just three years after the end of World War II and during the year of McCollum v. Board of Education, Shirley Jackson wrote The Lottery. World War II was one of the most brutal of wars involving Americans that resulted in many casualties; it is known as the deadliest conflict in history. McCollum v. Board of Education was the United States Supreme Court ruling that religious instruction in school violated the United States Constitution. And then there is Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery. All address, in one way or another, our humanity or lack thereof. Jackson’s 1948 short story, addresses our humanity and the darkness within. Jackson does this in a story that is filled with irony from start to finish. Irony in literature is the representation or expression of ideas contrary to what is stated or meant. Jackson’s title alone represents irony. When one thinks of a lottery, one thinks of winning something, a prize. However, Shirley Jackson’s lottery is far from a prize. There is no light or life in her lottery; hers is a lottery of darkness and death. The story is an ironic representation, through examples in setting and characterization, of darkness as opposed to light. The Lottery The Lottery is a 1948 story written by Shirley Jackson and published in The New Yorker. The story begins in a village town where everyone gathers for the lottery drawing. There are greetings, niceties, and reminders of traditions that have been in place for 77 years in the town. In a very short story, the reader gains knowledge about the citizens and the true meaning of the lottery and what the slips of paper mean that are contained in the black box. Nebeker mentions The Lottery’s “obvious comment on the innate savagery of man lurking beneath his civilized trappings" (100). By the end of the story, one learns that this cordial, traditional village is
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