Explain any issues of language in The Lottery.

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mdelmuro eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While the dialogue of the story is interesting because it is so vague, the use of certain pronunciations and words suggests that language is being used in "The Lottery" to create an Old-World feeling in a world that looks and seems New World.

The first issue of language comes in the opening paragraphs of the story. The villagers pronounce the name "Delacroix" as "Delacroy," instead of the tradition French pronunciation of "Delacraw." This suggests a complete rural setting.

The next language issue comes from the use of the word "menfolk" in the sentence "The women ... came shortly after their menfolk." Again, this suggests a rural environment. Jackson could have used several other words ("husbands," "significant others," "beaus," etc.). But the use of "menfolk" sounds old-fashioned.

My final example of language issues occurs when Mrs. Hutchinson arrives at the lottery and everyone gives her a hard time for being late. Mrs. Hutchinson reacts to the teasing with "Wouldn't have me leave m'dishes in the sink, now..." The word "m'dishes" seems a bit colloquial and dated to the Old World. Again, this suggests the story's setting is a place stuck a long time ago.

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The Lottery

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