What were some of the literary devices used in "The Lottery"?

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susan3smith | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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ome of the literary devices that come to mind are the following:

1.  Foreshadowing.  When the story opens boys are gathering rocks into piles.  At the end of the story, we realize the purpose of the rocks.

2. Irony.  The setting is an idyllic town where people are friendly, and the weather is

clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green.

This setting makes for surprising situational irony as it seems a most unlikely backdrop for the events that follow.

3.  Symbol.  The black box is a symbol for death as is the black mark on the "winning" lottery ticket.

4.  Suspense.  Suspense is created by the mystery surrounding the lottery.  The reader must keep reading to the very end of the story to find out what the lottery is all about.  This withholding of information makes the story even more intriguing. The lottery itself becomes a symbol for unquestioned tradition.

5.  A surprise ending or twist.  The "winner" of the lottery is actually a loser.

I hope these help.


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