Dangerous Behavior & Narrow-mindedness:.
Are people from past and present generations living a life of superstition? Some learn that going along with superstitions can cause you hardship in the long run. In Shirley Jackson's 1948 short story, "The Lottery", the text shows that superstition and narrow-mindedness can lead to dangerous behavior of those who aren't superstitious. In the story a dreadful ritual where the stoning death of a random citizen is a sacrifice for a fruitful harvest. Irony and foreshadowing litter this short story with signs of how the ending will eventually unfold. It seems the people in the small town consider that a large sum of money is won through sheer luck. Small signs that point toward the somber ending may not be clear to even the sharpest reader until the ending is actually read. Literary devices are strongly used to show evidence of manipulation through the setting and clever signs of foreshadowing, which are based upon supporting superstitious acts and the set up of the main character Mrs. Hutchinson with series of dramatically ironic events. .
The setting of this story seems very plain, dull, and somber. As you read the story, it seems as if everything is in black and white. Aside from the first sentence of the story, which indicates a bright setting, everything else is dark and dreary. Words such as faded and dusty give the reader a plain, dull feeling. The continuing reference to stones also indicates dullness, since stones are normally a blend of black, gray, and white. The old shabby black box is referred to as "faded and stained" (Jackson 269), and there does not seem to be anything glorious about it. At this point, the reader may wonder why is everything so dull if there is a large amount of money to be won? This dreary setting continues until the arrival of Mrs. Hutchinson, and at that point some smiles and laughter ring throughout the lottery crowd.