Lottery Essay

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Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" uses the third-person dramatic point of view to tell a story about an un-named village that celebrates a wicked, annual event. The narrator in the story gives many small details of the lottery taking place, but leaves the most crucial detail until the end, when the winner of the lottery is stoned to death by the other villagers. The use of the third-person point of view, with just a few cases of third-person omniscient thrown in, is an effective way of telling this ironic tale, both because the narrator's reporter-like blandness parallels the villagers' apparent apathy to the lottery, and because it helps build to the surprise ending by giving away bits of information to the reader through the actions and discussions of the villagers without giving away the final twist. "The Lottery" is primarily told in the third-person dramatic point of view, but on occasion the narrator becomes omniscient to divulge information to the reader that which is commonly known to the villagers. In paragraph 7, for example, the narrator states, "...at one time, some people remembered, there had been a recital of some sort..."(138). Also, in paragraph 13, the narrator says, "Although Mr. Summers and everyone else in the village knew the answer perfectly well ..."(138). This limited use of omniscience does not take away from the story, and is used sparingly and effectively to inform the reader of minor details that don't need to be emphasized. It is the matter of fact tone of the narrator that sets the atmosphere for this story, and matches perfectly with the attitude the villagers have toward the lottery. The narrator is going about his or her business, explaining details, recording conversations, revealing the history of the lottery, while the villagers are going on with the routine business of the lottery. This dullness lulls the reader into a

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