The Lottery by Shirley Jackson: My Interpretation
Is winning the lottery all that it’s cracked up to be? Not this one. These days every week your average Joe buys a lottery ticket thinking that small one dollar investment, may bring them happiness and fortune. But not this Lottery, In Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” the idea of a traditional lottery is twisted into almost the opposite of what is the normal idea of what a lottery should be, and symbolically gives an evil impression about the lottery. The rocks thrown at the winner symbolizes the pain and suffering that comes with the lottery and being harassed by jealous others. The story is showing very discretely that winning the lottery can bring nice material objects and much fortune, but also doesn’t come without its problems and evil that comes with a lot of money.
Jackson tries to bring a lot of surprise in the essay and keeps all the surprises to the end. She begins by setting up the scene of the story to give a feel for the type of characters who appear in the story. They seems normal and innocent especially when Jackson describes the young boys in the beginning of the story.”They stood together, away from the pile of stones in the corner, and their jokes were quiet and they smiled rather than laughed,” (Jackson 1). Here Jackson doesn’t mention why the young boys are playing wth stones, to the average reader the boys are simply being boys. As we read further in the story we see what the full intent of the stones were meant for. The reader is just supposed to see that this is happy group of village people.”The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; flowers were blossoming profusely and grass was richly green,” (1).Here in this quote Jackson continues to setup the reader for the surprise ending. And setting up the scene by describing it as a full summer day with richly green grass it causes the reader to see that the atmosphere is happy and bright, when really it’s an eerie story. It’s eerie due to the hidden meaning behind the stoning.
The stoning of Mrs. Hutchinson after she “won” the lottery symbolizes what really happens when someone wins the lottery today. Her fellow village people turn their back on her and even though she is a beloved housewife, gets stoned by her own family and friends. In today’s society we see somewhat similar cases, where after winning the lottery the winner feels as though more attention is put on them and is afraid for their life. Someone might steal their money or threaten them or hurt them. “A stone hit her on the side of the head,” (5). In this quote we see the cruelty of the village people, and the reader finally sees what the lottery is really about. It’s not about winning money, or a material object it’s about sacrificing a village member and inflicting pain on them eventually killing them. Some would say that’s what happens to a lottery winner in today’s time. They are congratulated for their prize, but it also comes with a lot of pain. Some people are harassed by their family members who want part of the winnings, sort of what happens to Mrs. Hutchinson.Which bring into mind the Powerball a couple months ago it was the biggest Powerball in history, but the media already talked about the possibility of winner claiming their winnings anonymously. Because we all know as a society that all the money may bring some unwanted attention. All we think about is the money side of the lottery and not the darker side of it.
It is no wonder that Jackson received a lot of negative attention from this story. It’s sad to admit it but the story depicts real life in a Dramatic way. Some are genuinely happy when others win the lottery, some get jealous, some thieves see it as an opportunity to take the money from the winner. No matter what it is the winner gets harrassed in some form or another. The way Jackson explains human behavior in “The Lottery” is a lesson to everyone. This isn’t just about the lottery but about all aspects of life. It shows how even family members as young as Davy Hutchinson can turn on you, and aid others to kill you. Jackson did people in the late 1940s sort of a favor by giving a drastic look into reality to get people’s attention to show them how humans can treat one another so cruelly, even tight nit village of 300 people, in the hopes of getting people to change.