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Comedy and Tone in The Lottery Essay


Comedy and a calm tone in the beginning of The Lottery may imply the exact opposite of what is to happen. However, readers will quickly see that everything is not what it seems. As readers, we can take many different things from the quote, although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use the stones (Jackson 10) The short story The Lottery by Shirley Jackson makes a bold and controversial statement concerning hypocrisy and flawed human nature.

In the short story, readers are informed of the traditional nature of the village. However, we are also informed of the many broken traditions. Readers are told that the many of the original traditions such as the ritual chant and greeting have been lost. Ironically, the village refuses to replace the box. Later, we are told that the box used is, in fact, not the original. Furthermore, the original paraphernalia is said to have been lost a long time ago. The people of the village refuse to question the lottery because there has always been a lottery. Old man Warner, the towns oldest citizen is disgusted just by the idea of not having a lottery. He goes as far as to say that if the lottery was stopped, next people would want to go back to living in caves.

Shirley Jackson also shows the people of the village to be cold. When a young girl shows concern for her friend, Nancy, Old Man Warner seemed disappointed saying people aint the way they used to be. The author uses irony in the story to show the nature of the villagers. Tessie Hutchinson, who serves as the protagonist, shows up to the lottery late mentioning to Mrs. Delecroix that she had clean forgot what day it was. It is at this point the tone begins to change. As the drawing begins the reader can tell by the seriousness of the crowd that theres more to be learned. When it is Mr. Hutchinson that draws the marked slip of paper, Tessie begins to rebel. Ironically, she wins the lottery and it is implied that she will be stoned. A friend, Mrs. Delecroix grabs the largest stone to throw, and rushed another woman along. Even Mrs. Hutchinsons own son is given pebbles to throw.

The short story The Lottery uses irony, comedy, and a calm tone to draw readers into what is much more complex than it seems. It its implied that the people village in the story are cold, uncaring, hypocrites. Shirley Jacksons message can easily be applied to the world we live in today. Although bold and controversial, she makes a valid point about the nature of human beings.

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