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What is the situational and dramatic irony in "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson?  

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soemyoaung | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 23, 2010 at 6:44 PM via web

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What is the situational and dramatic irony in "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson?


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epollock | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted February 23, 2010 at 8:15 PM (Answer #1)

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Among the story’s many ironies, some of the most notable are:

1. The point of view. An objective narrator tells the story, remaining outside the characters’ minds, yet the narrator’s detachment contrasts with the attitude of the author, who presumably, like the reader, is horrified. That the day’s happenings can be recounted so objectively lends them both credence and force. (situational)

2. The setting. The beauty of the June day is out of keeping with the fact that what takes place on the town green is a ritual murder. (situational)

3. The misplaced chivalry. Though women can be stoned to death in these yearly proceedings, they are whenever possible protected from having to take part in the general drawing (paragraph 13).

4. The characters. The townspeople are perfectly ordinary types, "surveying their own children, speaking of planting and rain, tractors and taxes" (3). Mr. Summers is in charge because he "had time and energy to devote to civic activities." (dramatic)

(4). Old Man Warner is a stickler for tradition. Neighbors chat amiably. Children play. All are grateful that the proceedings will be over in time for them to enjoy their noon meal.

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