The Lottery A Setting Analysis Essay

This essay has a total of 651 words and 4 pages.


The Lottery A Setting Analysis





Shirley Jackson takes great care in creating a setting for the story, The Lottery. She
gives the reader a sense of comfort and stability from the very beginning. It begins,
“clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were
blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green.” The setting throughout The
Lottery creates a sense of peacefulness and tranquility, while portraying a typical town
on a normal summer day.

With the very first words, Jackson begins to establish the environment for her plot. To
begin, she tells the reader that the story takes place on an early summer morning. This
helps in providing a focus of the typicality of this small town, a normal rural community.
She also mentions that school has just recently let out for summer break, which of course
allows the children to run around at that time of day. Furthermore, she describes the
grass as “richly green" and “the flowers were blooming profusely." These
descriptions of the surroundings give the reader a serene feeling about the town. The
location of the square, “between the post office and the bank", proves the smallness
of this town, since everything centralizes at or near the town square and it acts as the
primary location for the remaining part of the story, playing a significant role at the
end setting of the story.

Up to this point, nothing unordinary has happened, which might later reflect an ironic
ending. Eventually, small hints about the unusualness of this town are added. The author
points out significant buildings that surround the town square, but fails to describe a
church or a courthouse, which are common buildings to all communities. In this, there
seems to be no central governing body for this town, such as a court or a police station.
Also, oddly enough, these people celebrate Halloween but not Christmas, Easter or
Thanksgiving, the largest holidays that "normal" people celebrate. However, Halloween
implicates a certain proneness to defiant, evil activities. In addition, the children are
building "a great pile of stones in one corner of the square.” An impression of the
children as normal children gathering rocks is counterbalanced by their ironical
construction a massive pile of stones in one corner, as if they were punished through
labor.

The introduction of the black box acts as the major turning point for the setting. It
symbolizes an immoral act to the villagers as “the villagers kept their distance"
from it. The introduction of the black box into the setting changes the mood and the
atmosphere of the residents as they become uneasy around it. Furthermore, the black box
changes the mood from serene and peaceful to ominous, where the moment of illumination
reaches climax at the very end of the story. Through her use of subtle details in the
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