Shirley Jackson Questions and Answers

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Hi, I need to write a deep analysis of "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson, but I need help finding a good thesis statement.

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In her short story "The Lottery," Shirley Jackson plays on the fact that people are sometimes so far removed from their own ancient customs that they are shocked by their violence. In fact, she is not mistaken; people were so shocked at her story that it was banned in a number of places and was seen as a “horror” story by many. Yet, nothing is as simple as all of that because, in the story, the author is simply using a practice that has been around for centuries. Additionally, the story is set in a seemingly modernized society to illustrate the ways in which people behave. In "The Lottery," Jackson uses an ambiguous setting, timeless language, and ancient customs in order to evoke eternal truths about human nature.  

Choosing a scapegoat to sacrifice for the good of the people, be it a literal sacrifice or symbolic sacrifice, has always been the way of humanity. However, we rarely think about this phenomenon in our modern Western world. In the story, Jackson uses a brilliant method of getting our attention to force us to come face to face with the horror and unavoidable truth of human sacrifice: she takes what we all believe to be an ancient, long-dead practice (stoning) and sets it in an ambiguous modern town. It could be a town that any one of us lives in.  

For example, in the opening paragraph of the story, Jackson writes, “The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank, around ten o'clock. . . in this village, where there were only about three hundred people, the whole lottery took less than two hours.” She makes the whole thing seem so normal; it could be any village, from any time period. This is done so that people become aware that, no matter what, they are still capable of committing the same...

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