Language

Irony

The author subtly uses irony to make the outcome of the lottery more dramatic and disturbing, as violence and murder is portrayed as part of the normal way of life in the village (and, implicitly, in other communities that organise a lottery).

Firstly, the title of the story – “The Lottery” - is ironic, since a lottery is usually associated with good fortune. However, this particular lottery ends with the brutal murder of Tessie Hutchinson. Moreover, we notice that Tessie Hutchinson repeatedly argues that being chosen is not fair: “ ‘It wasn’t fair,’ Tessie said” (p. 30, l. 43); “ ‘Isn’t fair, it isn’t right’ ” (p. 32, l. 35). This is also ironic, since a lottery is a random process. The irony is enhanced by the fact that this particular lottery brings undeserved misfortune to whomever finds the dotted paper.

The beautiful setting of the village (p. 25, ll. 2-6) and the friendliness of the locals – “She tapped Mrs Delacroix on the arm as a farewell (…) The people separated good-humouredly to let her through” (p. 29, ll. 12-15) – are also meant to be read as ironic, as they fo...

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