2 May 2012
Craft analysis “The Lottery” is successful as a short story because of the characters that serve to advance the plot and because of the way author Shirley Jackson establishes her setting to give the reader a clear perception of what is taking place. Though this is not exactly an action-packed story, the reader can still uncover bits of information about characters through the few actions and dialogue that one does see. In addition, the setting gives the reader a clear understanding of what is taking place very early on and also serves to orient the reader. The setting also gives the reader the illusion that this story could be real and in effect, also contributes to both characterization and underlying theme. Jackson uses flat characters as a means to propel the plot. The primary ways in which she does this is by describing the family life, thoughts, opinions and actions of the characters. The characters of "The Lottery" all have seemingly stable, traditional family lives. The households consist of a mother, a father, and a few kids. As should be expected, the villagers all appear pretty well adjusted and sociable. This fact seems to be apparent for most of the story; however, the reader’s feelings soon become altered when the true meaning of the annual tradition is revealed. In essence, the family life that is depicted is used as a tool of characterization that tricks the reader into thinking that things will be okay. The family unit is used to symbolize protection and security, and by the end of the story the reader is left with a distorted sense of both. Another reason Jackson uses this type of characterization is to further develop Mr. Summers since he and his wife are the only exception to a traditional nuclear family. They both have no children and his wife is mean, as indicated by narration describing their neighbor’s opinion. One can then assume that their lack of a...