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Shirley Jackson had a big problem in writing "The Lottery." She wanted to achieve a big surprise ending--which she certainly succeeded in doing--but she had to hold the reader's interest until the story came to an end. She wanted the event to seem like a fairly ordinary, small-time affair taking place in rural America and involving a lot of plain, countrified Americans who always led uneventful lives, who had little to talk about but crops or the uneventful lives of their neighbors. Jackson knew there was a danger that the reader might assume this was nothing but a dull, slice-of-life piece reminiscent of authors like Hamlin Garland and would lead to nothing but a lottery drawing in which somebody won an insignificant prize like a homemade cake or a Bible--in which case the reader might just stop reading. So foreshadowing was necessary. The reader had to be made to feel that something strange was going to happen but at the same time had to be kept from guessing what that strange happening might be. The fact that some boys were gathering stones suggested some kind of violence in the offing, but the fact that children were present there at all seemed to suggest that the violence would not be too serious. The fact that there was talking about other towns abandoning their lotteries, and that even some of the people in this township were losing their faith in their own lottery, also suggested that there was something a little weird about to take place. Shirley Jackson's story is a masterpiece. She keeps the reader interested in these folksy, gossipy, innocuous yokels through foreshadowing and shifting points of view until she is ready to hit the reader with shock and surprise and horror.
Another piece of foreshadowing that comes later in the story is Tessie's saying "it's not fair." At that point in the story the average reader is still thinking the lottery is something one would want to win! But in hindsight you can see that the fact that the box is black (death) and that other towns have done away with their lotteries could at least suggest that there is something "off" about this lottery.
The stones is certainly an example of foreshadowing. Another example is the fact that Tessie shows up late (she "forgot" what day it was). This could be seen as foreshadowing who "wins." To discuss the stones a little more, it is not only the gathering of stones, but the protection of the stones from and by other boys.
I remember the first time I read this story, I wondered why Bobby Martin had "stuffed his pocket full of stones" and why the other boys followed suit. The big pile of stones that was being accumulated also was a clue that something sinister was about to happen. The prize that would go to the winner of the lottery is never mentioned, and I wondered what the winner would receive. The fact that the lottery was required--every member of the town had to participate--was also a red flag that signified its importance.
Yes, I also wondered the same thing and i stated that. This helps out alot, because i had them listed but i wasnt sure if it was strong enough. Thanks alot!
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