Foreshadowing In “The Lottery” Essay

Shirley Jackson portrays a special day, June 27, in the lives of the inhabitants of a small, apparently peaceful town. Making use of foreshadowing is used thoroughly to hint to the reader that in spite of the apparently joyful celebration, there is something morbid about the lottery game that triggers the people of the town to be anxious. Jackson foreshadows the paradoxical conclusion with specific examples and both threatening and tense diction.

The earliest indication of the peculiarity of the day’s lottery is the little boys had “already packed [their] pockets filled with stones” (422 ).

One knows that a lottery game in modern societies certainly does not involve rocks, so the idea that the town’s lottery is much various than the ones known in today’s world is presented. The reality that the men who start to gather for the lottery stand “away from the pile of stones” shows that the stones are not a jolly part of the day’s events (422 ). These examples provide the reader the concept that there is something essential, yet shady about the pile of rocks.

And although the males told jokes, “they smiled instead of chuckled” (422 ). If the lottery game was a carefree occasion, the men would have had no problem with laughing. The description of the actions of the group of males produces the impression that the lottery game is a serious occasion which is not about chuckling matters.

During the lottery game, after most of the men had actually picked and drawn their scrap of paper, they sat “turning them over and over nervously” (425 ). If the lottery was being carried out to provide some sort of reward or reward, they would have seemed excited, not anxious. Jackson also explains the way Mr. Summers and Mr. Adams smile at each other as “nervously” (425 ). The repetition of the word worried strengthens that the lottery is not one of enjoyable and games. In addition, Mrs. Dunbar’s anticipation for Mr. Summers to “rush” reveals that the lotto is not the kind of occasion individuals take pleasure in participating in and would rather overcome with rapidly (425 ).

For that reason it is apparent that the lotto would not have a pleasant result. Instead, the lottery game should have some sort of unfavorable outcome that is severe
enough to make the whole town anxious.

The most significant sign of the abnormal nature of the lotto is the intro of the “black box” (422 ). In many people’s minds the color black is associated with death. When it is exposed that there are scraps of paper in package, the reader is also exposed to what the box is utilized for: to hold the papers which the villagers will draw. In essence, the connotation of the color black creates the impression that when the villagers draw from package, they are drawing for a possibility at death. This example foreshadows exactly what will happen when the story concludes. Next Jackson describes the lottery as being a “routine” that once involved a “chant” (423 ).

The undertone of these words also supports the idea that the lottery game focuses on death. When one thinks of a routine, pictures of Ancient Aztec or Mayan sacrifices enter your mind. And when one thinks of shouting, images of hooded figures preparing somebody for a sacrifice surface. So through making use of threatening nouns and adjectives, Jackson is clearly specifying what is going to happen as an outcome of the lottery; a human sacrifice is going to occur.

Although as the story progresses there is increasingly more of a sensation of doom, the reader does not become acutely knowledgeable about what occurs after the lottery until Mrs. Hutchinson cringes in a corner with the mob approaching her. If one analyzes the color of package and its function, it is possible to forecast the outcome of the lotto, but otherwise all other methods of foreshadowing offer the reader with a strong sensation that something troubling is going to happen.

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