A Closer Look at Themes - STylerN5

N5 Prose
‘The Lottery’ by Shirley
‘The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson
The Danger of Blindly
Following Tradition
The village lottery culminates
in a violent murder each
year, a bizarre ritual that
suggests how dangerous
tradition can be when
people follow it blindly.
‘The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson
The Danger of Blindly
Following Tradition
• The villagers’ blind acceptance
of the lottery has allowed
murder to become a part of
the town fabric
• If the villagers stopped to
question it, they would be
forced to ask themselves why
they are committing a murder –
but no-one stops to question
‘The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson
The Danger of Blindly
Following Tradition
“Mr Summers spoke
frequently to the villagers
about making a new box,
but no-one liked to upset
even as much tradition as
was represented by the
black box.”
‘The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson
The Danger of Blindly
Following Tradition
“ ‘The 77th year I’ve been in the lottery,’ said
Old Man Warner as he went through the
crowd, ‘77th time.’ ”
“ The original paraphernalia for the lottery had
been lost long ago and the black box
resting on the stool had been put into use
even before Old Man Warner, the oldest
man in the village , was born.”
“Although the villagers had forgotten
the ritual and lost the original black
box, they still remembered to use
“The people had done it so many times they
only half listened to the directions.”
‘The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson
The Danger of Blindly
Following Tradition
“ Because so much of the ritual had
been forgotten or discarded, Mr.
Summers had been successful in
having slips of paper substituted for
the chips of wood that had been
used for generations.”
“at one time, people remembered…this
had also changed with time.”
‘The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson
Find quotations from the
story to answer these
1. What does Mr Summers
always suggest the villagers
2. How do people feel about
3. Does this make sense? (no
quotation needed; your
‘The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson
Second Theme:
The Randomness of
Villagers persecute individuals at random,
and the victim is guilty of no transgression
other than having drawn the wrong slip of
paper from a box. All villagers have the same
chance of becoming the victim – even
children are at risk. Each year, someone new
is chosen and killed, and no family is safe. The
villagers turn on the “winner” swiftly; the
instant Tessie chooses the marked slip of
paper she loses her identity as a popular
‘The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson
The Randomness of
“Mr Summers stirred up the papers inside it.”
“ ‘Well everyone,‘ Mr Summers said, ‘That was
done pretty fast and now we’ve got to be
hurrying a little more to get done in time.’ ”
“ Suddenly all of the women began to speak
at once, saying, ‘Who is it? Who’s got it?’”
“Mrs Graves said, ‘All of us took the same
“ Mrs Delacroix selected a stone so large she
had to pick it up with both hands and turned
to Mrs Dunbar, “C’mon” she said, “Hurry up.””
‘The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson
How does Jackson set her apart from the
other villagers; what makes her different?
Old Man Warner:
Why does Old Man Warner feel so
strongly about the lottery? What does
this reveal about his character?
Mr Summers:
How does Jackson set Mr Summers apart
from the other villagers?
Bill Hutchinson:
How does he react when his family and
wife “win” the lottery? In what way is this an
unexpected reaction?
‘The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson
The Randomness of Persecution
• These ordinary people easily kill
someone when they are told to
• The person who is killed is
innocent of any wrongdoing
• Once picked, Tessie loses her
identity as wife, mother,
neighbour and friend
‘The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson
Foreshadowing is when
seemingly innocent remarks
or actions indicate the
conclusion of a story, film,
poem or play
‘The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson
For example:
Mr Summers says to Tessie when she
arrives late, ‘“Thought we were going to
have to get on without you
Tessie”’ Meaning he thought they would
have to start the lottery without her.
However, this is also foreshadowing
Tessie’s death and her family having to
live without her.
Find four more examples of
foreshadowing in the story
Monday 15th June 2015
• Continue/Start highlighting the
quotes for blindly following
tradition and randomness of
persecution on your copy of
the story – use different colours
for these themes.
• Copy down the note on
foreshadowing and find more
examples of it in the story –
highlight these in a third colour.
For Wednesday 17th June
• Visit wikipage and complete
highlighting for themes and
• www.stylern5.wikispaces.com