What are some examples of irony in the story "The Lottery"? For example, why might the title, "The Lottery," or the opening description in paragraph one be considered ironic?

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One bit of irony is Tessie Hutchinson's arrival to the lottery. Arriving a bit late, she jokes with Mrs. Delacroix, telling her that she "clean forgot what day it was." This indicates that the lottery itself seems so inconsequential to her that it slipped her mind entirely. But it should weigh heavily on her, as someone will be selected to die on this day. Her blase attitude is ironic because this is her last lottery and, therefore, the most significant one she has ever attended.

Verbal irony occurs with this comment by Mr. Summers, who is in charge of the lottery's proceedings: "Thought we were going to have to get on without you, Tessie." As it turns out, they cannot "get on" without Tessie, because it is her name that will be drawn. The entire lottery hinges on Tessie Hutchinson this year.

This is followed by Tessie's ironic reply. She responds, "Wouldn't have me leave m'dishes in the sink, now, would you, Joe?" This shows that Tessie has valued the daily routine so much that her future has paled in significance. She has been caught up in her chores, and ultimately, these won't matter to her at all within moments. Her perspective is narrowly focused on returning back home to continue her routine, and she has no idea that the routines of her life have now been completed.

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The opening paragraph of "The Lottery" describes a beautiful summer's day in late June; the flowers are blossoming and the grass is richly green. As the people of the village start to gather in the square, it seems that everyone's getting ready for the kind of good old-fashioned traditional festival that takes place in so many small towns and villages across America at this time of year.

The irony here, of course is that this traditional festival happens to be a murderous pagan ritual in which a human victim is sacrificed to ensure a good harvest. The lush description of nature in the opening paragraph lulls us into a false sense of security, making us think that this is a perfectly normal summer scene in an ordinary New England village. But as subsequent events will show, there's nothing remotely normal about the lottery and the very public act of human sacrifice to which it will give rise.

The pleasantness of the warm sunshine, the blossoming flowers, and the richly green grass lead us to form certain expectations of the village and its inhabitants. But in a classic example of situational irony, our expectations are confounded by the disturbing events that follow.

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Verbal irony occurs when words mean the opposite of their literal meaning, while situational irony occurs when events turn out the opposite from what was expected. Jackson's "The Lottery" uses both verbal and situational irony.

The title is an example of verbal irony because we normally think of a lottery as an event where a person wins a desired or coveted prize. However, in this story, getting chosen for the lottery is no prize but a death sentence, as the person whose name is drawn is stoned to death as a human sacrifice to insure a good harvest.

The first paragraph is an example of situational irony: the beautiful June day and the gathering of townspeople on the village green seems pleasant and unthreatening, giving us, on a quick read, no indication that what is to happen is anything but a happy, festive event.

Situational irony also occurs in the homey way Tessie Hutchinson arrives, almost having forgotten the lottery, and still wearing her apron and drying her hands on it. The reassuring words of her neighbor that she is still on time encourage us to believe, ironically, that what is going to occur will be pleasant.

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The title of the short story is ironic because the word "lottery" has a positive connotation that suggests that someone will be winning something. Ironically, the lottery in the small village corresponds to the random, brutal murder of an innocent citizen. The person whose name is drawn is not considered lucky and is violently stoned to death by their neighbors and family.

Jackson's setting is also ironic because it is a beautiful, pleasant day in the small community. The citizens gather together and amiably engage in small talk, which adds to the positive atmosphere. Ironically, the community has gathered for a horrible event and someone will be brutally stoned to death by their neighbors.

Another example of irony in the short story relates to Mr. Summers, who is the jovial man in charge of drawing the strips from the black box. Mr. Summers's name relates to the warm, pleasant season and the reader associates his name with a happy, festive time. Ironically, Mr. Summers is in charge of randomly selecting a citizen, who will be senselessly murdered. Instead of being a pleasant person like his name suggests, he is a rather ominous figure in the community.

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There are many examples of irony in "The Lottery"--Shirley Jackson's story about the dangers of blindly following tradition. The title of the story itself is ironic because the idea of a lottery usually involves a reward for the winner whereas, in this case, the "winner" of the lottery is stoned to death instead. The irony continues in the opening description as the narrator paints a cheery picture of a bright and beautiful summer day. Later in the story Tessie Hutchinson, one of the villagers who seems to take the lottery the least seriously, is ultimately selected for stoning. As the narrator notes near the end in one of the story's biggest ironies,

Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones.

Ironically, all the villagers seem to remember about the lottery isn't the original purpose, or the procedure, but the end result: someone must be stoned.

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