"The Lottery," by Shirley Jackson, is told from the point of view of an objective, third person narrator. Let's explore what this means.
In the third person narrative, there are different options as to how the narrator will tell the story.
Whatever the narrator decides, the narrative in third person stems from the principle that the narrator is not involved in the story. The narrator is unattached.
Therefore, the narrator refers to the main characters by name, or by using the "he" or "she" pronouns when speaking about them. This is because narrator is not a part of the story.
However, in the third person narrative, there are also subcategories.
- A limited third person narrator can tell you what the characters are thinking and feeling.
- An objective third person will tell you nothing about feelings or thoughts. Instead, the reader will have to figure out why the main character does or feel the way she/he does.
- Then, there is the all-knowing, omniscient third person, who will tell you how everything happens and how characters feel. It will be revealed to you either completely, or partially. It is up to the narrator.
Readers who love Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," often wish the narrative was limited third person, or at least partially omniscient, in order to know what in the world goes on in the minds of the villagers. Do they feel sorry for what they do? Are they aware of the barbaric nature of their lottery? Do the Hutchinson's feel any grief or loss?
We cannot answer these questions, which is part of what makes "The Lottery" such an intriguing story. Hence, it is safe to argue that the point of view in the story is an objective, third person narrative.