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Jose Amador Lozano 1
Jose Amador Lozano
October 19, 2016
Structural Integrity within “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson
The making of a great short story begins with its well-rounded structure. The structure within a story is what motivates a reader to continue reading grasping the attention and mood from the author being reflected onto its audience. Just as in a suspenseful movie or love story structural integrity becomes the centerpiece that defines the beginning, middle, and end. When reading “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson the reader can easily see the influence a great structure makes in such a story with strong detail towards certain objects used, highlighting the reactions made by the people in the city and ending with a surprising and unexpected twist.
When beginning the short story Shirley Jackson begins by introducing her audience with what could be described as the best influence of detail within a short story, its setting. For example, “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” (139). Within this quote she begins to grasp a reader’s attention by drawing a picture with her descriptive wording. This causes the reader to place themselves in a relatable point of view. Shirley Jackson is also able to grasp the reader’s attention onto something as normal as a sunny
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day. When in reality the reader is just about to be introduced to one of the best clues the story has to offer. This will eventually lead into the contrast of the story introducing, “The big black box”.
With the introduction of the big black box which is what centerfolds the dialogue of the story. The author now begins to describe its purpose while keeping a grasp on the attention towards the townsfolk beginning to gather in the square between the post office and the bank. She also begins to introduce another huge detail within the story when she states, “Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones” (139). Both symbols within the story influence the townsfolk by defining their fate and extenuate their emotion while they gather and gossip to each other about the previous lottery, and how its changed in other towns. “They do say," Mr. Adams said to Old Man Warner, who stood next to him, "that over in the north village they're talking of giving up the lottery” (142). The townsfolk begin to gather in different forms, the children first of course, next the men and finally the woman following right behind. Now the lottery can begin and just as all the towns events it is being conducted by Mr. Summers whom is carrying the big black box full of slips of paper one with a very important detail.
At this point in the story, the lottery is now open and set to begin. The towns folk begin to express their true emotions towards the lottery, and everyone is beginning to come forth representing their heads of household in each family. “It's not the way it used to be.” Old Man Warner said clearly. “People ain't the way they used to be” (143). As the town continues to organize there is side talk of how the lottery has begun to fade away in some towns and how it already has dissipated in others. The mere thought of it now being 10 o’clock gathered around a black box in the middle of the town has everyone so restless to where they now wish it could just
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be over with and how it feels as if the lottery was just last week, "Seems like there's no time at all between lotteries anymore." Mrs. Delacroix said to Mrs. Graves in the back row.
"Seems like we got through with the last one only last week."
"Time sure goes fast. -- Mrs. Graves said” (142). This quote is a great example of their feelings towards the lottery the author has implemented in the state of selection before having to choose their fate within a little piece of paper in a big black box. As they walk up to the big black box one by one the tension begins to grow, each family now must reveal who has the magic ticket and must stand before everyone in the crowd. The author now has built tension within the town to where people begin to blame and correct one another because of what they feel is right in the way they went up to select a ticket, “I think we ought to start over," Mrs. Hutchinson said, as quietly as she could. "I tell you it wasn't fair. You didn't give him time enough to choose. Everybody saw that” (143). Although at the same time they are worrying so much of themselves they completely lose thought of what is right or wrong when the ticket with the black dot is revealed.
It has come to the point of the story where the author has now built up a mental description towards piecing the structure together. The big black box holding a ticket determining someone’s fate, rocks being gathered by everyone in the town including small children, and the suspenseful gossip of the people all eagerly and regretfully waiting. Mr. Summers has already finished calling up family after family, everyone has checked their tickets and then, “Bill Hutchinson went over to his wife and forced the slip of paper out of her hand. It had a black spot on it, the black spot Mr. Summers had made the night before with the heavy
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pencil in the coal company office. Bill Hutchinson held it up, and there was a stir in the crowd” (144). Out of respect for the lottery only Mr. Summers spoke up saying, “All right, folks." Mr. Summers said. "Let's finish quickly” (144). The Lottery was now chosen and the ending had
come as a bolt of lightning striking the earth, everyone picked up their rocks, even some picked up ones they could barely lift when finally, “It isn't fair, it isn't right," Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her” (144). Just as in past years the “The Lottery” has finished once again and the author has done a great job of leading suspenseful evidence, the pieces are now complete and the tradition is kept on just as barbaric and unworthy as it may seem.
Throughout the story the author has been able use structure through emotions while piecing certain symbols together in order to lead into what was not expected for the word “lottery.” The stereo type of the word lottery drew attention away from what it is truly being expressed here in this short story depicting it as a barbaric and filtering tradition. The unfortunate person was chosen and stoned to death, and in this town, it is the norm. Everyone can now go back to their regular lives as farmers, businessmen and children to playing as they were before with the mere acknowledgment of following a tradition that has been around for years.
ts it is being conducted by Mr. Summers whom is carrying the big black box full of slips of paper one with a very important detail.
"Time sure goes fast. -- Mrs. Graves said” (142). This quote is a great example of their feelings towards the lottery the author has implemented in the state of selection before having to choose their fate within a little piece of paper in a big black box. As they walk up