The Lottery

The Lottery, a short story written by Shirley Jackson, is a tale of disturbing evilness. The setting is a small
village consisting of about 300 residents. On June 27th of every year the members of the community hold
a village-wide lottery in which everyone is expected to participate. Throughout the story the reader gets an
odd feeling regarding the residents. Although they are gathering for a lottery drawing there is an air of
nervousness about the event. From start to finish there is an overwhelming sense that something terrible is
about to happen due to the authors in depth use of foreshadowing.
The first hint that something strange is happening
is brought to our attention in the second paragraph.
After Jackson describes the summer morning, she alludes to
the children gathering in the Village Square, but they are
acting quite strange. "Bobby Martin had already stuffed
his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed
his example…eventually made a great pile of stones in one
corner of the square and guarded it against the raids of
the other boys" (Text, 782). The first question we must
ask is why are the boys piling stones up in the village
square? At the very least we know that the stones will
play an important role in the final outcome.
Each following paragraph contains subtle clues as
to what is going to unfold. After all of the children
have gathered the men begin to fill the square, followed
by all of the women. "They stood together, away from the
pile of stones in the corner" (Text, 783). The fact that
the stood away from the stones, again, informs the reader
that the stones play some sinister role. Nervousness
amongst the people is evident due to the children\'s
reluctance to join their parents standing in the square.
At this point in the story the reader should have a
feeling that the lottery being described isn\'t going
to have a pleasant outcome for someone in the population.

One particular line on page 784, in the last
paragraph, gives the reader direction in realizing
the lottery payoff. The narrator describes
Mrs. Hutchinson\'s entrance saying, "She tapped Mrs.
Delacroix on the arm as a farewell and began to make
her way through the crowd." The word "farewell" is used
as foreshadowing to the climax of the story.
Normally when a person enters a crowd of people they are
greeted, but not Mrs. Hutchinson for she is obviously
Nearer the climax the hints of foreshadowing almost give
away the secret. Old Man Warner says, "Bad enough to see
young Joe Summers up there joking with everybody"
(Text, 786), thus indicating that the lottery was no joking
matter. It is obviously going to make a major impact on
somebody\'s life. The people knew that every year there was
going to be a lottery, and they maintained a sense of
humor to accompany their disgruntlement. Engaging in the
drawing was a necessity to them, and for reasons not
discussed, they accepted it.
Another reference to the seriousness of the
occasion is described when Mr. Summers (the lottery
official) says, "Well now…guess we better get started,
get this over with, so we can get back to work.
Anybody ain\'t here?" (Text, 785). Once again it doesn\'t
sound like the people involved are too anxious to find out
who will be the "lucky winner". When Mr. Summers begins
calling names, the residents nervously present themselves,
unaware of their destiny, to pull slips of paper out of
the little black lottery box. Nobody is to look at their
slip of paper until all of the members of the village had
drawn. This action adds suspense to the story.
The reader will not know what is about to happen until
the very end of the story unless they have picked up on
Jackson\'s strong use of foreshadowing.
The story finally begins to unfold as everyone
examines the individual slips.
"For a minute, no one moved, and then all the slips of
paper were opened. Suddenly, all the women began to speak
at once, saying, \'Who is it?\'…\'Bill Hutchinson\'s got it\'"
(Text, 787). Doomsday is upon the Hutchinson\'s, and the
Missus is screaming and complaining that the lottery wasn\'t
"fair". Due to