Irony in The Lottery
Shirley Jackson wrote the story “The Lottery.” A lottery is typically
thought of as something good because it usually involves winning something
such as money or prizes. In this lottery it is not what they win but it is
what is lost. Point of views, situations, and the title are allironic to
the story “The Lottery.”
The point of view in “The Lottery” is ironic to the outcome. Jackson
used third person dramatic point of view when writing “The Lottery.” The
third person dramatic point of view allowed the author to keep the outcome
of the story a surprise. The outcome is ironic because the readers are led
to believe everything is fine because we do not really know what anyone is
thinking. This point of view enables the ending to be ironic.
The situations in “The Lottery” are ironic. The author’s use of words
keeps the reader thinking that there is nothing wrong and that everyone is
fine. The story starts by describing the day as “clear and sunny”(309).
The people of the town are happy and going on as if it is every other day.
The situation where Mrs. Hutchinson is jokingly saying to Mrs. Delacroix
“Clean forgot what day it was”(311) is ironic because something that is so
awful cannot truly be forgotten. At the end of the story when Mrs.
Hutchinson is chosen for the lottery, it is ironic that it does not upset
her that she was chosen. She is upset because of the way she is chosen.
She shows this by saying “It isn’t fair, it isn’t right” (316). The
situation is extremely ironic to the story.
The title of the story “The Lottery” is ironic. By reading the title
of the story the reader may think that someone is going to win something.
In actuality when the reader gets to the end of the story, he finds just
the opposite to be true. Jackson shows every day as if it is any other
summer day. Jackson foreshadows the events to come by writing:
School was recently over for the summer . . . Bobby Martin had
already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys
soon followed his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest
stones; . . . eventually made a pile of stones in one corner of the
square and guarded it against the raids of other boys. (310) After reading
this, the reader thinks the children are just collecting stones because
that is what children do. They do not expect the outcome to turn out like
it does. The title has the reader believing that something good is going
to happen, and will not know any different until the end of the story.
The point of view, situation, and title all contribute to the irony
in the story. These are all equally important to the irony and without
them the story would not have been as interesting as it was. If these were
not included then the story would not be the same and would not keep the
Irony in The Lottery