Critical Analysis: Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery"

There is a lot that can be said about Shirley Jackson's short story, "The Lottery." It is a classic for many reasons. It's controversial, especially for the time in which it was written, thought provoking in the underlying meaning of it all, and a terrifyingly accurate account of the darker things people are capable of. Over the years, it has sparked a lot of debate, perhaps because people are uncomfortable with how close to home the story's themes can hit. In it, Jackson touches on such issues as hypocrisy, mob mentality, impatience, and selfishness. She creates a world so normal and innocuous that, from the beginning, the readers find themselves sucked in to the story, able to relate. This is why the ending comes to us as such a great surprise, because one minute we're there, on a warm sunny day with all of our neighbors and friends, and in the next minute, we're part of a world that's full of terrible rituals and unbelievable things. In "The Lottery," Shirley Jackson demonstrates the darkest sides of human nature.Hypocrisy is one of the first themes that we come across as readers in "The Lottery," and there are a few instances in which we see this demonstrated. In the beginning of the story, the men are shown as the typical head of the household, authoritative, chivalrous figures. The men are the ones who draw the names for the whole family, and when the women call for the children and the children don't …