Discuss the drama conveyed through Shirley Jackson's point of view in  "The Lottery."

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that Jackson is able to enhance the drama of the story with her detached third person form.  The narrator, in a way, is like the reader.  Both of them understand and grasp what is happening in the narrative.  However, both are helpless to stop the savage cruelty in the village.  The detached narration helps to increase the drama in several points.  When the Hutchinsons' name is first pulled, and Tessie begins to voice discontent, the narration reports it and depicts it as an event where there is drama.  However, the drama is felt by the reader, as it is the first moment where conflict arises and the reader understands the dramatic tension that emerges in setting Tessie apart from the rest of the community.  In this light, the point of view of a detached narrator helps to increase the dramatic tension, as the narrator's eyes help the reader's own to both make sense of what is happening and what is being felt as a result.  This style continues throughout the short story, and is heightened when the narrator reveals Mrs. Delacroix running to find the biggest stone that can be lifted with two hands.  In this light, the drama is evident as the reader understands, through the narration, of the terror that is going to result and while the reader cannot do anything about it, like the narrator, the reader closes the story with a reflection element about how such similar practices are evident in the reader's own world.

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