In "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson, how would you characterize the plot?Is is driven by suspense? Is it chronological?

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The plot in "The Lottery" is structured in straight chronological order, and employs the traditional narrative conventions of exposition, description, and dialogue. It is driven by suspense, but the suspense is introduced very slowly and subtly, leading to the story's shocking and horrible conclusion.

In the beginning of the story, all seems to be well:

The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green.

It is on this beautiful and welcoming morning that the people of the village begin to gather for the lottery to begin at 10:00. The plot continues in this tone as first the children, then the men, and then the women begin to congregate in the town square. Mr. Summers will conduct the lottery, just as he conducts "the square dances, the teen-age club, the Halloween program." He has a round face and a "jovial" manner. So far, so good. No reason for alarm. No suspense. The story continues with exposition explaining the procedures of the lottery and its history, the background of some characters, and the final arrival of others.

The first real clue that all may not be as pleasant as it seems enters the story when the usually jovial Mr. Summers speaks in a sober tone, declaring "guess we better get started, get this over with, so's we can go back to work." The lottery is no longer a friendly gathering; it is something undesirable that must be done so that it can be put behind them.

Suspense is now a part of the plot, and it is developed, again with subtlety. A mysterious list of the villagers' names is completed, and a "sudden hush" falls over crowd as Mr. Summers gets events underway. As the lottery begins, some villagers smile, but they do so "humorlessly and nervously." Others, who have drawn their slips of paper, turn them "over and over nervously." Most of the people "were quiet, wetting their lips, not looking around." The change in tone adds suspense to the plot as the reader tries to reconcile the distress of the villagers with their beautiful surroundings on this June morning.

The tension increases as the plot develops, slips are read, desperate arguments ensue, some slips are drawn again, and--significantly--one girl in the crowd whispers, "I hope it's not Nancy." With this comment, the lottery becomes very ominous. Winning the lottery is not to be desired, but the reason is still unknown. The suspense peaks when, finally, the "winner" is announced, the crowd becomes a savage mob, and Tessie Hutchinson is stoned to death.

mahirbarut | Student
Story starts describing the atmosphere of scene, and is drawn a picture of a dreary summer day. Also he gives a brief report about the people and the lottery.People start to come together for the lottery and we are given information about the participants of the lottery but without touching on the aim of the lottery with a great delicate, so that we are kept in suspense. And this ambiguity helps to sustain the tension of the subsuquent developments of the story until the demise of the story. After everyone is checked from the list, the lottery starts and the talk that the conductor gave to the crowd. And so we are given a hint that something will hapen or change for one of the residents of the village. Its the point the main series of events which prepare the impending dangers and the destiny of the Hutchınsons start simultaneus with the lottery. That the fate awaiting this family start with lottery. And its imposible to escape from this ultimate fate since the lottery bases on chance. Still after starting the lottery there is nothing to change and so the lottery begans to diminish its important and mystery. The other falling action is the family of Hutchinson when they got the black spot. But This incident can not be the falling action bacause in the story ultimate incident is the lottery itself, not any one who participates on the lottery. we learn finally the aim of the lottery and its results so that we just comprehend the coherence in the story simultaneously. We learn finally the ultimate aim the lotter how it may seem to an outsider, how is ridicules and we see its imposible to find and justification to this absurd, terriblely awful ritiual. Point of view is the third person because he is absent from the narration. And the narrator 3rd person hetero diegetic narrator. Characters of the lottery They are not depicted distinctly and differentiated so they all are the flat characters. But in the anaylsis of the characters we have some controversial points on defining the protagonist and antogonist of the story Because if the protagonist is Mrs. Tessie who becomes the antogonist of the story? Mrs Tessie looks like a victim of the lottery which is done every year. so we can deduce that any one next year will share the same destiny with her. so its diffıcult to answer what can change a character into a protagonist.. can it be a lottery? he victim of the lottery is not determined by the narration itself. ıts just the cause of lottery. So since the lottery is a kind of game bases on chance so our pratogonist remains open to debate..
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The Lottery

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