What is the verbal irony in "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson?

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Verbal irony occurs when a word or statement is used and carries a different meaning than the meaning that is usually carried or connoted by the word or phrase. When someone smashes their thumb with a hammer and says under their breath, "well that's just great," it is an example of verbal irony. The chances that the person is actually happy about smashing their thumb are quite low.

In Jackson's short story "The Lottery," it should be noted that the title of the story itself is an example of verbal irony. Generally speaking, people want to win lotteries. The assumed connotation of a lottery is that a desirable prize is given to the winner. To be fair, the title of the story is not entirely ironic: The stoning victim is indeed chosen through a lottery process. Names are put into a box, and a winning name is drawn. Tessie's name is selected through a lottery process. That part is not verbal irony, but most readers assume that Tessie is going to win a fun prize rather than her painful death. It...

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