How has Shirley Jackson changed the term "lottery" from being associated with good luck? From "The Lottery"

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pippin1313 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jackson starts the story on a positive note which lulls the reader into thinking that the lottery is going to be a lucky event: 'The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day...'

However very shortly the final twist is foreshadowed: 'Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones'

The reader is socially conditioned to think that lotteries are lucky and positive things and Jackson uses the horror of how far from the truth this is in "The Lottery" to highlight how tradition can be highly barbaric. In the final line the villagers are even portrayed as almost hyenas:'"It isn't fair, it isn't right," Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her.'

Jackson also uses repetition of the word lottery to highlight the change in luck that this event is. By constantly referring to it she cements the idea of the lottery being lucky and yet foreshadowing causes a sense of unease for the reader.

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The Lottery

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