How does Shirley Jasckson's build the structure for " The Lottery"?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Shirley Jackson's short story "The Lottery" begins with a very descriptive exposition which details the setting and foreshadows that there is an important event which will be taking place in the village.

However, it is the colorful and polished language that Jackson uses what masks the events that are about to occur. The very sinister and macabre practice of the Lottery is meant to kill people, which is something completely distant from the cheerful and colorful description that is given to us from the very beginning.

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. The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank, around ten o'clock; in some towns there were so many people that the lottery took two days and had to be started on June 2th. but in this village, where there were only about three hundred people, the whole lottery took less than two hours, so it could begin at ten o'clock in the morning and still be through in time to allow the villagers to get home for noon dinner.

The rest of the story details in chronological order and in an organized, descriptive manner, the practice of the lottery. The entire process is discussed in detail, and the importance of the event is accentuated, yet, there is never any hint as to the rationale behind it.

Therefore, the story "The Lottery" is structured in the same manner as any other traditional short story with a clear beginning, middle, and end. However, it is the language that is used throughout the narrative what creates in the reader the confusion as to what is really going on.

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