How does the author handle describing her characters in "The Lottery"?Multiple Choice (please choose): (a) they are only slightly developed; (b) readers are made to understand characters in depth;...

How does the author handle describing her characters in "The Lottery"?

Multiple Choice (please choose): (a) they are only slightly developed; (b) readers are made to understand characters in depth; (c) physical descriptions are important to the story development; (d) there is no character development.

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

(a) the characters of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" are only slightly developed.  In fact, there are rather nebulous descriptions and, at times, conflicting descriptions of the personages of her narrative.  For instance, 

While the reader knows the most about Mr. Summers, who has "time and energy to devote to civic activities," because he has no children; he is in charge of the black box, and is, ironically, a jovial man who runs the coal business in town and has a termagant for a wife. With the friendly unconcern of a salesman, he waves and calls to the townspeople, "Little late today, folks."  Portentously, the next character, Mr. Graves, carries the three-legged stool on which the black box rests, much like a coffin. But, this is the only description. In addition, there is really little known about the thoughts of many characters such Mrs. Delacroix.  But, above all, Jackson's minimalist descriptions of characters keeps the reader in the dark about what is to come, along with the neutral tones and words which the characters use that could be about almost anything.

Read the study guide:
The Lottery

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question