What are some examples of irony in "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson?

Examples of irony in "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson include the title's positive connotation, the names of Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves, and Tessie's encouragement to her husband to select a piece of paper.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

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...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 986 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on November 14, 2019