Have you ever read the story of a princess kissing a frog, having it turn into a prince? Well, what if it didnt become a prince, but she turned into a frog herself! This is called irony, something we would not expect to happen. In the story of the princess we would not expect that to happen. In the story The Lottery, written by Shirley Jackson, we see this situation in another form. She uses irony to bring out the point in her story. The Lottery, offers an ironic twist of fate that causes wonder and makes one sympathize with the characters.
There have been many situations on our own lives in which we are totally surprised in the outcome of a situation. In this case Jackson emphasized the irony as her main goal. She declares, to shock the storys readers with a graphic demonstration of the pointless violence and general inhumanity in their own lives. This shows that she wanted to use the element of irony to bring out the meaning of her story. Jackson used irony in many different ways such as Tessie being the last one to arrive and the first one to leave(in a way).
Also one would think of the lottery as being something to win and inherit goods or valuables from, however, winning the lottery means losing your life. Another part of the story that came off surprising was how her husband gave her up so easily. Instead of feeling bad for his wife, Mr. Hutchinson quickly admitted to her having the marked ticket. One would think that through marriage their bond would be more sacred, however, he is so relieved that it isnt him that he hastily turns her in. Most importantly in the story is the event of Tessie choosing the ticket that tells her fate.
This is where we really start to sympathize for her and feel how much of a panic the story goes into. Jackson writes, Its Tessie, Mr. Summers said, and his voice was hushed. Show us her paper, Bill. Bill went over to his wife and forced the slip of paper out of her hand. It had a black spot on it (234). The mood of the story goes into a panic. We can tell this because the author implies it by showing the tension and terror in Tessies voice as though something horrible is going to happen. Lastly, we see the ending scene of Tessie being stoned as a form of a scapegoat for the village.
Jackson writes that even her little son picks up small pebbles and throws them at her just to show the emptiness of feeling in the people. Even her own family helps in her death. In all, we see that Jackson has used the element of irony to bare on us the moral of her story. She shows how winning is not always a good thing, and how ironic the world may be. Through her story, she has made us feel sympathy for Tessie and all that she has gone through. We have irony in our own lives that can be used against us when we least expect it.