What are three setting points that affect the plot in "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson?I'm doing an essay that has to be about the affect of setting in a story.  i currently have a thesis...

What are three setting points that affect the plot in "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson?

I'm doing an essay that has to be about the affect of setting in a story.  i currently have a thesis statement. it is: The setting in "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson leads to the dramatic ending that horrifies the reader.

But I need three supporting examples as to how setting does this. I have as of right now: the weather and the people's attitude. i need one more. if you have any suggestions they are very welcome! =]. thank you for helping.

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missy575's profile pic

missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I would use location.

This is a village of about 200 people. It seemed to have a town square and referenced it as if it was used for all the positive events in the town.

the stool was put in the center of the square and Mr. Summers set the black box down on it. The villagers kept their distance, leaving a space between them and the stool.

What I like about this quote is how open-ended it leaves the idea of location. Some people leave space between themselves and something else because they revere it, others because they fear it. I think for the characters in this story, both are true.

One more example of location occurs as the people discuss what is going on in other villages:

over in the north village they're talking of giving up the lottery.

The Old Man, focused on tradition dismisses this idea, but not knowing yet what the lottery is really about, we readers wonder if that's a good idea or bad idea. This affects plot because if there was no lottery, things would certainly be different, there wouldn't be a plot.

dstuva's profile pic

Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Concerning setting in Jackson's "The Lottery," you could use the ordinariness of the town.  The flowers are blossoming, the town includes a post office and a bank, and getting home from the lottery in time for lunch is considered a good thing.  All of the above are located in just the first paragraph.

Schools have just recently closed for the summer, the boys are restless with their new-found freedom, and  their chatter still consists of the classroom and teacher and times when they got in trouble.  The girls are segregated from the boys, but keep looking over their shoulders at the boys.  Little children roll around in the dust and hold their older sibling's hands.

 The normalcy of the town contributes to the surprise ending.  It adds to the irony.  The town leads readers to feel that this is a normal place, but it turns out to be anything but normal. 

It also, of course, contributes to the idea that normal people are capable of atrocities, given the right circumstances.

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