Use Of Irony In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

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In Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” irony is the headline for the entire short story. The setting begins with a summer day being sunny and clear, but the ending is about a woman getting stoned to death. The story takes place in a small town, and every year for the past seventy years, the people of the town hold a lottery. As the lottery is held, one person’s name is drawn from the black box, and that person gets stoned. Jackson uses symbolism, setting and the townspeople to conceal the true theme of the lottery, which is tradition. The objects that Jackson uses throughout the story have symbolism, and those symbols are the connections to the meaning of the lottery which revolves around tradition and religion. Before reading the story, the first small piece of irony is …show more content…
Children often follow or mimic adult actions, so they are seeing no wrong when having to stone someone to death. This is how tradition carries on because the ritual is being engraved in the children at such a young age. Also, the other object used to express irony and contribute to the theme of the story is the black box. “The postmaster, Mr. Graves, followed him, carrying a three – legged stool, and the stool was put in the center of the square and Mr. Summers set the black box down on it” (222). Shortly after the village people see the black box, they keep their distance from it. Inside of the box has the names of everyone on little pieces of white paper. It is holding the key of life or death, and encompasses the evil tradition that must take place. This particular box is black and is made up of pieces from the past black boxes. With the box being black, this color is a universal symbol for death or darkness to follow. Looking at this story from a religious Christianity stance, there seems to be a biblical side. The “three legged stool” is holding the black box of death. It’s ironic that the stool has three legs, but in the religious manner, it represents the