Here are a few examples of irony in "The Lottery":
- The title of the story, "The Lottery," is ironic. The word 'lottery' has a positive connotation and implies the people playing want to win. A lottery consists of a random winner with the odds stacked against all contestants,...
Here are a few examples of irony in "The Lottery":
- The title of the story, "The Lottery," is ironic. The word 'lottery' has a positive connotation and implies the people playing want to win. A lottery consists of a random winner with the odds stacked against all contestants, but in this case, the winner, whose prize is death by stoning, would not be considered lucky nor do they want to win.
- The lottery is perceived as an important and necessary tradition, yet ironically, no one can seem to explain where the tradition came from and why they continue to partake in it.
- The day is described as nearly perfect, yet it ends in a violent murder.
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 ... School was recently over for the summer, and the feeling of liberty sat uneasily on most of them; they tended to gather together quietly for a while before they broke into boisterous play, and their talk was still of the classroom and the teacher, of books and reprimands.
Jackson sets up a beautiful setting which is in stark contrast to the final scene. It's ironic the day is so beautiful, yet it will end in a tragedy.
- Some of the names in the story create irony. Mr. Summers is the facilitator of the event, and Mr. Graves is his helper. The word summer, like the setting, would suggest something positive, yet he is the person who runs the lottery. And the last name Graves sets up foreshadowing for the rest of the tale adding to the ironic twist at the end.
- During the lottery, someone mentions that the north village has talked about ending the tradition of the lottery. Old Man Warner, the oldest member of this village, calls the north village a "Pack of crazy fools," which is ironic because that's how they act once the "winner" has been selected.
A further example of irony comes in the behavior of the adults of the village towards their children. Ordinarily, one would expect parents to protect their children from seeing and doing horrible things. Yet in the village depicted in "The Lottery," it's a different story altogether. The children are active participants in this sordid ritual, innocently picking up pebbles as if they were playing a game, when in fact they're going to join in stoning the sacrificial victim to death.
They are being blooded, if you like—inducted into the ritual to ensure that the tradition carries on long after the older generation has passed away. Far from being protected by their parents, they're being abused, their innocence as children sacrificed as much as the lives of the ritual's victims.
There are a number of examples of irony in the "The Lottery."
First, there is irony in the story's title. The word "lottery," for example, suggests that something positive is going to happen, but this could not be further from the truth. In this story, winning the lottery means that you are stoned to death, not the recipient of a great prize.
Secondly, the description in the first paragraph of the story is also ironic. Jackson describes the day as "clear" and "sunny," for instance, and notes that the flowers are "blossoming." Again, this suggests that something good is about to happen since the setting is so peaceful and idyllic. The reader, however, has no idea that such a violent and bloody event is about to take place.
Finally, there is some irony in the comments made by Old Man Warner. He states that another village wants to give up the lottery and suggests that this will lead to people "living in caves" and everyone giving up work. For him, giving up the lottery is like taking a step back in time and living like barbarians. In reality, however, there is nothing more barbaric than a lottery which leads to the stoning of innocent villagers.
"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson is a story which contains many examples of irony.
The first, of course, is that the title and opening paragraphs all indicate that the lottery is something positive and beneficial when, in fact, it is anything but that. The day is normal and beautiful, and the lottery is compared to a square dance and an innocuous Halloween party. In actuality, the lottery is a dance with luck that will end in a stoning.
Another irony is that everyone in town seems to care about one another, wanting to make sure no one misses out on the festive occasion; what they really want, we learn, is to be sure everyone has the same chance of losing as they do.
It is also ironic that Tessie Hutchinson actually encourages her husband to go pick his piece of paper:
"Get up there, Bill," Mrs. Hutchinson said.
His selection, which she is so eager for him to make, leads directly to his wife's death, and that is ironic.
At the beginning of the story, Mrs. Delacroix is a sweet and loving friend to Tessie; however, things change quickly and, by the end of the story, the image we have of her changes dramatically.
Mrs. Delacroix selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands and turned to Mrs. Dunbar. "Come on," she said. "Hurry up."
It is ironic that the loving mother Tessie is in the beginning of the story becomes a mother ready to sacrifice even her children to save herself.
The final irony is Tessie's final protestation:
"It isn't fair, it isn't right," Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her.
This is ironic, of course, because if anyone else but her had been the lottery loser, she would have thought the lottery was perfectly fair and been quick to pick up her share of stones.
There are a few ironies in the story. In fact, these ironies are disturbing.
First, those who believe strongly in the lottery, do so with joy. They think that the lottery is something that should be celebrated, or something that people should look forward to, when in fact, it is a ritual of death. Here is a quote that shows the deep irony of this point.
The lottery was conducted--as were the square dances, the teen club, the Halloween program--by Mr. Summers. who had time and energy to devote to civic activities.
It should also be noted that Mr. Summers thought that stoning someone once a year was a civic activity.
Second, the whole concept of a lottery is ironic. This is probably the biggest irony in the story. A lottery suggests winning something. For example, people may say that they wish they could win the lottery. However in this case, the winning of the lottery is death by stoning. So, the very connotation of a lottery is turned upside down. Ironic.
One of the most direct examples of irony in "The Lottery" comes from the connotation associated with the word 'lottery.' Most people would associate winning a lottery with receiving a fabulous prize or millions of dollars in cash; the term 'lottery' usually has a very positive connotation. The end of the short story strikes the reader as being very ironic, because in this instance, winning the lottery does not equate a grand prize, but rather a gruesome death by stoning.
Shirley Jackson's story is all about the unexpected; she lulls the reader into a false sense of security with the seemingly positive setting, the quaint small town with its farmers discussing plows and the wives in their "house dresses with sweaters." The setting makes the reader feel comfortable and relaxed, never supposing that this seemingly sweet town could host such a brutal tradition. The setting is definitely another ironic twist in the story, driving home the point that even seemingly good people can contribute to something horrible for the mere sake of tradition.