The Lottery Point of View Paper

Published: 2021-09-13 11:00:10
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“The Lottery” is that of being told in the third person. The story is told more by an observer’s point of view rather than that of a participant. In “The Lottery” she illustrates how what is being done to the family members, of people in the village, is an act of pointless bloodshed. It isn’t clear as to why they carry on with the ancient rite but what is clear is that the people in the village are obedient to the past law and are unwilling to see the whole thing for what it is, senseless killing.
Jackson’s third person view is crucial to the plot of the story because it allows the illumination of the fact that the villagers, led by Mr. Summers who had assumed the civic duty of conducting the lottery, are carrying on with a tradition of the lottery because “there’s always been a lottery” (239). When I first began reading the story I had no idea what Jackson was leading up to. As the community members come together they are portrayed as just people assembling for a quick affair that will only disrupt their lives for a short time.
The anxiousness begins to build in the crowd as she writes of their nervous laughter and their quietness as the lottery is about to take place. Once the lottery is underway the readers can begin to get a sense from the villagers’ hesitation and uneasiness that the lottery may not be something that one wants to win and the pending outcome will not bring joy. Jackson’s point of view makes the story so powerful because she paints a picture of the lottery as being an ordinary part of life. The people don’t seem to see the evil in what they are doing.
It’s a cruel and calculated act but they have just accepted as the norm because that’s the way they’ve always done it. In “The Lottery” Jackson writes about a point in the story, during the drawing of slips, where a man mentions that there are villages to the north where they are talking about ending the lottery and that there are in fact places where they have already stopped doing them. He’s dismissed by an elder who says they are a “Pack of crazy fools. Listening to the young folks, nothing’s good enough for them” (239). He goes on to say that they may as well return to such primate ways as living in caves.
He describes the end of lotteries as being a step back in their progression of a civilized society such that it is. The title of this story is deceiving because when most people think of the lottery they are quick to assume you are going to gain something favorable. This is not the case in this short story by Jackson. It is anything but a victory and there is no elation when you are drawn in this lottery. This lottery is a strangely anticipated if not celebrated by the villagers. We look at what people did in the past and judge them by their actions. There are atrocities in our history that seem absurd.
We look at what people are capable and it’s appalling. For some reason it seems as though people are willing to do unthinkable things simply because they’re tradition or that it’s just the way things are. Their moral alarm fails to go off and pointless violence is accepted. In “The Lottery” the people grew knowing nothing else, like the young boys in the village who collect the stones for the killing, it’s the only thing they know. For those reasons, they don’t see what is so wrong with what is going on. From the third person’s view we can watch the villagers move through the events of the morning as the lottery goes on.
Shirley Jackson’s choice of point of view in this short story, “The Lottery” was essential to its success because without it, the whole story would have been interpreted differently and you would not have understood what she is trying to say. We as human beings need to be compassionate and stand up for what is morally right. Just because someone says that we need to do something because it is what has always been done doesn’t mean that it’s right. Taking a stand and creating change can be a scary and sometimes dangerous but if it’s the right thing to do we need to do it.
Jackson illustrates what happens when we as human beings stand by and do nothing. She shows this point when she writes about Tessie at the end of the story. Tessie Hutchinson was dead-on when she held up her hands desperately to the crowd and said “This isn’t fair, it isn’t right! ” (241). Even though this is only a story it strikes true to our hearts because we have all seen the inhumanity in the world.

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