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Emotional Impact: The Lottery

            Short stories can often capture a reader through a pre-establish design of elements meant to create an emotional impact. In "The Lottery," Shirley Jackson describes a shocking event where a person from town is chosen randomly to be stoned to death. The reactions and attitudes of the characters, the use of symbol, and the creation of suspense add to the dramatization of the event.
             The reactions of the characters to the morbid events unfolding around them are atrociously inanimate. For an example, the children gather in the square and begin to play. Playing as such shows little or no feelings of sadness or anxiety. Also the men gather and tell quiet jokes among themselves as they talk of weather and tractors. All the while, the women are gossiping. Another surprisingly upbeat conversation occurs between Mrs. Hutchinson and Mr. Summers. Here Mr. Summers jokingly tells the late Mrs. Hutchinson that he was afraid that they would have to start without her. She replies smiling " wouldn't have me leave m"dishs in the sink, now would you, Joe?" and the crowd begins to laugh. This unfeeling attitude continues when Mrs. Dunbar tells her son to be ready to go tell his father as soon as they hear who looses. Finally towards the end of the story, when only the Hutchinson family has to draw, the kids jump and laugh when they don't lose, ignoring the fact that they are about to lose a loved one. Having seen so many lotteries the people of this town have grown immune to the horror of killing a fellow citizen. The idea that a society could ever become so sadistic is unnerving.
             Jackson also creates a thick layer of suspense by keeping the intent of the lottery a secret to the end of the story. The beginning of the story goes into intricate detail describing the way the people gather and what they do after arriving in the square. However, the purpose of this gathering in never revealed except to say that they are there to take part in the lottery.

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