Analysis and Development of Fiction Story (1)
Analysis and Development of a Fiction Story
Analysis and Development of a Fiction Story
This essay analyzes Shirley Jackson’s short story ‘The Lottery’. The analysis pertains to the development and progression of the plot, the tools the writer adopts to do so, and the consequent effects it has on the reader and the story. References have been used and cited accordingly.
On the warm, sunny day of June 27th, the people of a small town gather in the square for the annual lottery. The men are talking about business, the women about households, and the children are gathering piles upon piles of stones. Mrs. Hutchinson arrives just as Mr. Summers, who is in charge of the lottery, is calling everyone to order. After the drawing ends, Bill Hutchinson becomes the selected recipient. Mrs. Hutchinson, however, protests that it wasn’t ‘fair’ CITATION Jacnd l 1033 (Jackson, n.d.). The five members of the Hutchinson family then draw new slips. This time, Mrs. Hutchinson, still protesting, is selected as the final recipient. The people of the town, however, advance on her and presumably stone her to death with the piles collected earlier.
‘The Lottery’ can be analyzed in context of the classic three-act plot development in fiction. In the first act, the people of the town gather for the lottery. It ends with Mrs. Hutchinson arriving late. She remarks that she almost forgot what day it was, thus implying that attending the lottery was not optional. Act two of the plot covers the various traditions that Mr. Summers performs. The town goes through them with ease, thus suggesting that they were all used to it. It ends with Bill Hutchinson drawing the slip of paper, and Mrs. Hutchinson protesting against the process. Act three is where the suspense builds up. It is here that we realize that the lottery might not, after all, be the cheerful affair it is made out to be. It starts with the Hutchinson family drawing out their slips, and ends with Mrs. Hutchinson being stoned to death by the town.
Jackson’s most powerful tool is her writing: the entire story flows as a journalistic account would, with no hint of bias or emotion.The easy to be missed horror is in the subtleties. In fact, Jackson builds Mrs. Hutchinson to be a scapegoat, which her actions—being late to the day of the lottery, for example—are proof of.The lottery was, in truth, an ‘arbitrary election’ to single out the most undesirable character in the village—the scapegoat. The ‘ease’, however, with which the villagers treat their ‘motives’ was the most depressing thing in the story CITATION Kos85 l 1033 (Kosenko, 1985). It is a ‘tradition’ gone too far, as in a city that keeps its parks and roads clean, but chooses to ignore the underbelly that lies just a few steps aheadCITATION Grend l 1033 (Gregory, n.d).
There is also a deep hypocrisy that riddles the town.Mrs. Hutchinson, herself was willing to stone her neighbor to death, but protests vehemently against her stoning CITATION Unznd l 1033 (Unzicker, n.d.). Even more troubling is the anonymity of the town the lottery takes place in, and the fact that it mentions the same happening in ‘other places’ as well, thus, making the act universal. It makes readers wonder whether such practices take place in the real world as well, and if yes, then where and how CITATION Fre75 l 1033 (Freidman, 1975).
The lottery is, simply, a look into how humankind has been penetrated to the bone by social evils and inhumane acts posing as traditions. The story is quite shaking, and shocks even the strongest of readers. Even more shocking is the sheer, casual acceptance of it all, coupled with the outrageous protests to the story. Through her writing, Jackson shows us the mirror. However, instead of recognizing it and being ashamed, mankind lashes out against itself.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Freidman, L. (1975). Shirley Jackson . Boston: Twayne Publishers .
Gregory, J. (n.d). A Cry for Help. Retrieved June 5, 2015, from The Lesser Evil: http://facultystaff.vwc.edu/~cbellamy/dream%20child/Jackson-%20Unzicker,%20Gregory.htm
Jackson, S. (n.d.). “The Lottery.” The Harper Anthology of Fiction (Vol. 989). (E. S. Barnett, Ed.) New York, United States of America: Harper Collins.
Kosenko, P. (1985, Spring ). A Reading of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”. New Orleans Review , pp. 27-32.
Unzicker, K. (n.d.). The Lesser Evil. Retrieved June 5, 2015, from Virginia Wesleyan College : http://gordondhue.weebly.com/information-literacy.html