Why is objective point of view appropiate in the "The Lottery"?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In a story told with an objective point of view, the narrator does not focus on one character.  It contributes to the theme that no one in the story is responsible.  This allows for the full force of the story to be felt when the reader realizes that the people are randomly killing one person a year. 

The narrator of a story influences how a story is told.  If a story has an objective narrator, the narrator does not influence the reader’s opinion, because the narrator does not give an opinion.  The reader has no idea what is coming, and there are only subtle hints that something is wrong.

The lottery was conducted--as were the square dances, the teen club, the Halloween program--by Mr. Summers, who had time and energy to devote to civic activities. (p. 1)

There is no commentary on Mr. Summers, he simply is involved because he has time.  We do not know how he feels about it, or how the other villagers feel.  We know how no one feels, so we do not realize what is happening.

This does not mean that we do not know what people are thinking at all.  Consider the following passage.

Mr. Graves opened the slip of paper and there was a general sigh through the crowd as he held it up and everyone could see that it was blank. Nancy and Bill. Jr. opened theirs at the same time, and both beamed and laughed, turning around to the crowd and holding their slips of paper above their heads. (p. 6)

In this passage, we learn how people feel in general, and how Nancy and Bill feel.  We are not inside any one person’s head though, so we still really don’t know what is going on yet.

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