Hidden Horrors in Shirley Jackson's The Lottery Essay

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Hidden Horrors in Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

Shirley Jackson's short story "The Lottery" presents conflict on more than one level. The most important conflict in the story is between the subject matter and the way the story is told. From the beginning Jackson takes great pains to present her short story as a folksy piece of Americana. Slowly it dawns on us, the terrible outcome of what she describes.

From the first sentence of the story,

The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green.

We are given the feeling of being in an idyllic, rural world. She enhances this feeling with little vignettes that are almost
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She is a housewife. She raises children and takes care of the home. Obviously it would be her job to prepare lunch for the family after the lottery, if fate did not have something else in store for her.

Tessie Hutchinson accepts her role in society, up to a point. When her family's name is called she prompts her husband to hurry up and draw. It is interesting that she is the one who urges her husband to hurry, and then later complains that he was rushed. Until the reality of the situation set in for her, when she realized that her husband had drawn the black dot, she was ready and willing to fulfill whatever role her social group set for her.

Suddenly, when she realizes the danger she faces, Tessie is aware of the inherent unfairness of the situation. She protests, finally, but by then it is too late. The rest of the community is glad that it is not them who has been chosen. They are also glad to have the normal ritual of their community followed.

Tessie is no longer a member of that community, though. This is shown in her insistence that her married daughter should participate in the household drawing. Tessie is willing to endanger her child in order to increase the odds of her own survival. The rules of the community no longer matter to her, because in her own mind she is already outside of that community.

Even though Tessie has given up on the rules of the community, she appeals to them once again in her

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