Shirley Jackson has a way of making the reader believe something good is going to happen. As Jackson progresses within the story, she drops hints within the names of the characters and the tone of the story to foreshadow what?s really going to happen at the end. In Shirley Jackson?s ?The Lottery,? the author examines the theme that everything is not always what it appears to be by the use of the setting, the characters, and the plot.
The setting sometimes helps the reader know the tone of the story, what kind of atmosphere it gives off. In the beginning of the story, the day appears to be just another ordinary day to the people in town. The atmosphere that characters set is easy-going. Everyone knows each other and; friendly to one another. As the story progresses the tone changes. Amelia Tibbett comments on the change in tone: ?The tone of the story evolves into one of panic the further along we go. As the story moves along, there does become a sense of urgency? (Web). That is because as each family draws their slips they come closer to finding out who has the slip with the black dot. The description of the setting gets the reader to believe that the lottery is something to look forward to, something that somebody wanted to win.
Some of the characters in the story help shape the events that are to come. Their names are a hint or theirs actions had foreshadowed the event. Mr. Graves say, ?Used to be a saying about ?Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon.? First thing you know, we?d be eating stewed chickweed and acorns. There?s always been a lottery? (123). In this message it is implied that something or someone has to be lost in order to gain something in return. When Tessie enters the scene late, she?s in a calm mood before the lottery has started. Her demeanor changes when her husband chooses the slip. She becomes panicky when she realizes it could be her. It shows that lottery is not what we as readers think it means. By her change in demeanor, the reader can understand that ending is not going to be a good one.
The actions in the plot helps the reader to understand exactly how the story is going to end. As people were gathering in the square, young boys made a pile of stones while others had put them in their pockets. People that lived in the town wanted to get it over with. Tibbett says, ?That is how insignificantly unimportant they make you feel about the event, that it is just a brief event that will be had, but should not disrupt the other necessary events of the day, especially the noon meal? (Web). It was an annual tradition and since there were not as many people who lived in this town, the lottery only took about two hours of their time. As everyone gathered in the square, the man of the household is called to draw a slip of paper from a faded black box that was placed on a stool. When each name is called, the suspense rises because no one knows who it is going to be. After every name is called everyone is questioning about who has the slip, with- who won the lottery. In the Hutchinson household the wife, Tessie, shouts to Mr. Summers saying, ??You didn?t give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn?t fair?? (124). It probably would have not mattered whether he was given time or not. He probably would have drawn the same slip. This time the reader would have figured out that the lottery was something that nobody wanted to win. Each member of the household has to redraw from the faded black box. The children were clear and so was the husband because their paper was blank. In the beginning of the story, Jackson makes the reader believe that something good was going to come at the end of the story. After she drew Tessie refused to show her paper because she knew it was she this year. She knew what the end result was going to be for her- being stone to death.
When the reader sees the word ?lottery,? the reader automatically think that there is going