Q:

What is an example of irony in Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery"?

A:

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Perhaps the prime example of irony in Shirley Jackson's short story "The Lottery" is that the prize is anything but good; rather, the "winner" ends up dying. The idea that a small town would make such an event an annual tradition shows the depths to which superstition takes humanity. While the premise is not necessarily realistic, it is based on enough truths about human nature to resonate as a powerful tale.

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Full Answer

The central plot twist is not the only example of irony in "The Lottery." Another example is the fact that Tessie (who ends up "winning") almost missed the start of the lottery because she was at home washing her dishes. Still another is that, once Tessie's family is identified as the source of the "winner," she asks that her daughter and son-in-law be forced to take part in the fatal drawing, so that everyone takes their fair chance. Knowing that the rules dictate that daughters draw with their husbands' families, she still tries to put her daughter's life at risk. The lottery organizer, Mr. Summers, has an oddly positive disposition (and name), especially given the sort of drawing he has to conduct. Finally, the fact that one resident of this town has survived 77 lotteries -- and remains the town's biggest supporter of the lottery -- is also unexpected.

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Related Questions

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    What is the theme of the short story "The Lottery?"

    A:

    The primary theme explored by "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson is blindly held tradition and the impacts it has on a society. "The Lottery" centers around a village that, in almost all respects, is healthy and idyllic. However, it practices a yearly tradition of drawing lots and stoning one of its members to death.

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    What is the theme of "Charles" by Shirley Jackson?

    A:

    Shirley Jackson's short story "Charles" has two themes: the tendency that many parents have to overlook traits in their own children and the strong desire that children have for attention. The adventures of the young Laurie, who has just started kindergarten, leave both his parents and teacher nonplussed.

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    What is the significance of "lottery in June"?

    A:

    The significance of the statement "lottery in June" is that it summarizes the beliefs of the characters in the short story "The Lottery." The characters believe holding a lottery in June results in a good harvest later in the year. The full saying is "lottery in June, corn be heavy soon." "The Lottery" was written by Shirley Jackson in 1948 and initially appeared in the New Yorker.

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  • Q:

    What are some short stories written by Shirley Jackson?

    A:

    Shirley Jackson's short stories include "The Lottery," "The Daemon Lover," "Pillar of Salt," "Seven Types of Ambiguity," and "After You, My Dear Alphonse." These and other stories — 25 total — were included in Jackson's 1949 volume "The Lottery and Other Stories."

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