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How does Shirley Jackson use foreshadowing to reveal the deathly conclusion of...

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english-issues | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 8, 2007 at 8:07 AM via web

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How does Shirley Jackson use foreshadowing to reveal the deathly conclusion of "The Lottery"?

Like in the beginning of the story where you see the little boys gathering stones, and the connection with Jackson choice of character names....ex. "Mr. Graves".

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gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 8, 2007 at 8:50 AM (Answer #1)

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Some of the foreshadowing in this story is ironic. For example, if you look at the opening paragraphs, it seems like a beautiful day, even a perfect day, so much so that something bad must happen to darken it.

 

The names do then provide a more specific foreshadowing. "Graves" refers to death. "Delacroix" means "of the cross" in French, which indicates that a public killing like a crucifixion will happen.

 

The pile of stones is a hint that something will happen; what could it be for, after all?

 

The box for names is black, like a coffin.

 

At one point, Mr. Summers says, "Little late today, folks." If someone is "late," he or she could be dead.

 

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 8, 2007 at 9:59 AM (Answer #3)

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It's also worth mentioning that the woman who is the victim of the lottery almost forgets to go as she is washing dishes. She rushes up still wiping her hands and telling everyone how she is sorry to be late and almost missing the show...dishes, you know.

She also starts shouting about how her husband didn't have enough time to choose his marble once it's made evident that he has the black one.

This story is chock full of foreshadowing! 

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