"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson.

Essay by fire_elementalA-, May 2003

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Shirley Jackson's short story is one of suspense and mystery. The story starts in a very sunny tone and this happiness quickly ebbs away into mounting anxiety and the finally to death as the story closes in on the climax and the end of the story. The village is our world today shrunk into a population of about 300. This essay will talk about the relation to the world today and to Mrs Hutchinson's death by stoning.

The women in The Lottery are treated as inferiors to the males. One gets this idea in their first appearance 'wearing faded houses dresses...came shortly after the menfolk'. The fact that they are wearing house dresses indicates they are also part of the working class but are held in contempt because they do not work within the larger economy where profit and wages are concerned. In the first image of the story, we sort of get the idea of this when the children are gathering stones for the lottery.

Only the boys gather the stones and the more you have of it the more powerful you were. The girls stand to one side and just talk to themselves or watch. This demonstrates the 'inabilities' that the boys see in the girls, they are not good enough to be collecting stones (power) and are shunted to one side.

The main people in charge of the lottery are Mr Summers, Mr Martin and Mr Graves. Mr Summers almost seems to be the head of the village. He is in charge of a vital part of the people's lives and that is coal. That gives him dominion over the working class. Mr Martin is the only grocer in the village (that we see) which also gives him a lot of power and probably represents the...