In Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," how does the point of view in the story preserve the story’s suspense?

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"The Lottery" is written from a third-person point of view with limited scope. This objective perspective allows the reader to experience the lottery as it is happening, which allows suspense to build leading to the plot twist at the end. As readers, we want to know the outcome of the lottery, but because the narrator never tells us what it means to win, we are left in suspense until the very end.

A third-person point of view means there is someone outside of the story looking on and dictating the events that are occurring. When the narrator is limited, it means they don't know everything that is occurring or has occurred in the fictional world. This type of writing makes the narrator an active observer, just like the reader. In "The Lottery," the narrator does have information about the town and the lottery, but they don't give us any other significant information. We have no idea what it means to win the lottery or why the village partakes in this yearly tradition. This lack of knowledge creates suspense and adds an air of mystery to the text. We, the readers, watch the story unfold just like the narrator.

When the reader first encounters the concept of a lottery, their mind automatically thinks of a prize, which leads them to believe this lottery will be just as pleasant. However, the narrative point of view leaves out key details that would suggest this lottery is quite different. The only clues we can find come from the character's dialogue, but even that information is quite vague and indifferent. It's not until the end of the story that we learn the lottery is a sacred ritual where a person from the village is sacrificed in hopes of a prosperous harvest.

Between the third-person point of view and the limited, objective scope, the reader is left to believe that the lottery is something positive. This omission of key details creates suspense as the reader is left to wonder what the winner of the lottery will ultimately "win."

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In "The Lottery," Shirley Jackson utilizes a third-person objective point of view to create a more suspenseful ending for readers. As the plot progresses, it is difficult to even understand the purpose of the lottery for a while. The details of how the lottery unfolds each year is revealed long before the why. The tone surrounding the lottery is serious, with much detail allotted to the description and traditions surrounding this box and its papers.

As the lottery proceedings begin, things become more clear. Still, it is impossible to know how the townspeople feel about the lottery itself. Because of the third-person objective point of view, the reader is limited to the characters' dialogue and actions in deciphering their feelings, and for the most part, the details evolve without emotion at all. The only exception occurs when Tessie Hutchinson's family is selected as the unlucky winners of this lottery, and she becomes so desperate to save herself that she begs them to add her married daughters' names to the next lottery selection to lessen her own chances of being drawn.

Even as the townspeople close in on Tessie with stones, the tone remains detached with the narrator simply reporting the events matter-of-factly. Instead of offering commentary on the themes of this story, such as blindly accepting traditions without great analysis, Jackson uses point of view to ask leaders to create that commentary for themselves as they close in on a shocking ending.

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Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" is told using a third person point of view. The suspense of the story is maintained because the narrator relays the events of the story using primarily factual information and provides little insight as to the emotions of the people in the village. The reader picks up on some signs of nervousness or hesitation among the villagers, but the reason for these emotions is not clear until the end of the story. The narrator shares details in the story that give the appearance of all things being pleasant. For example, the reader is informed of the nice weather and the play of young children. However, these details along with a detached narrator do not prepare the reader for the horrific events at the end of the story. By using a third person point of view, Jackson achieves surprise in the end that would have been difficult to achieve through a different point of view.

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Shirley Jackson tells the story using a third person narrator in order to preserve the story's suspense. Instead of writing from an omniscient third person point of view, Jackson discloses the purpose of the lottery and does not address why individuals are becoming anxious as they pick from the mysterious black box. If the story was narrated in the first person, that character would openly express why they have feelings of trepidation while picking from the box. Characters narrating the story would also give further insight into the purpose of the lottery which would again ruin the suspense. An omniscient third person narrator would reveal that the names being drawn from the black box indicate who will be stoned to death. Using a third person narrator allows Jackson to describe the environment and give subtle clues as to what the lottery is about without revealing its purpose.

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The point of view in "The Lottery" is third person.  The extremely objective narrator does not delve into the minds of any of the characters or give insight into their feelings; rather he merely reveals the process of the lottery as it unfolds. 

Jackson uses the narrator to heighten suspense, as the reader of the story only has the information provided by the outward events of the lottery.  This style of narration forces the reader to take a more active, engaged role in the reading, to gather clues and possible indicators of what is to come.  The objective point of view guides the reader into role as observer; it is up to he/she to decide the meaning of the ubiquitous black box or why the villagers seem so nervous about the drawing of the slips. 

The point of view absolutely preserves suspense.  If the story had been told from one of the villagers, or third person omniscient, it would have ruined the 'surprise' ending.  Jackson's use of point of view keeps readers on the edge of their seats until the grisly ending, which is exactly as she intended.

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Shirley Jackson's short story, "The Lottery," is written from a third person point of view. By omitting the availability of each character's private thoughts, the reader is introduced to the lottery as it happens. Given that none of the character's dialogue directly points to what the lottery actually is, suspense builds for the reader.

While some of the villagers question the continuance of the lottery, Old Man Warner declares the discontinuation of the lottery as foolish. As the crowd gathers, readers can see the anxiety building, but are not given any reason as to why. The questioning of the continuance and the anxious villagers lead to the reader's growing suspense.

Essentially, by not using a first or second person narration, readers are left in the dark about the truth behind the lottery. If readers would have been provided with a character's point of view, they would have been very aware of the truth behind what was about to happen.

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