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Ironic Joy in “The Lottery”

By Avery King, III Form

Ironic Joy in “The Lottery”

Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery,” uses juxtaposition to show the town’s darkness through the beautiful summer day, the contrast of character’s names, and the difference in behavior between the adults and the children. “The Lottery” begins with a description of the beautiful summer day, which makes the reader assume that a joyful event will take place. The setting of summer implies a sense of hope and happiness because the day “[w]as clear and sunny with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green” (Jackson 1). Often, the setting reflects the content of a story, but this is not true here. The characters’ names also show a contrast between darkness and light, for the name Mr. Summers is almost always closely followed by the name Mr. Graves to remind the reader that not everything is as light and good as it may seem. When Mr. Summers makes his first entrance with the black box, Mr. Graves comes in closely behind: “The postmaster, Mr. Graves, follow[s] him, carrying a three-legged stool, and the stool is placed in the center of the square, and Mr. Summers set[s] the black box down on it” (Jackson 1). Jackson deliberately chooses the last names of the characters to reflect the irony of the event. While the summer is supposed to be jovial, something grave and dark can ruin it. This “dark event” is precisely what happens to the town every summer when the Lottery occurs. Concurrently, before the town convenes for the Lottery, the children are happily running and playing because it is summertime and they are innocent. As the adults filter into the scene wearing somber expressions, the mood changes, and one begins to wonder why they are so sad while the children are happily collecting stones. In fact, “Bobby Martin ha[s] already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon [follow] his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones” (Jackson 1). While initially, the stone collection appears to be a fun game, the stones ultimately are used as weapons against Mrs. Hutchinson.  Jackson contrasts innocence with harm and evil, even when initially it seems harmless. Jackson’s purpose is to show that everything has a balance in contrast. Through the description of the beautiful summer day, the contrast in the characters’ names, and the children’s game, Jackson shows that this Lottery is a corrupt event, for even the happiest of moments can contain darkness. Contrast allows Jackson to convey that the Lottery is not something to be celebrated. 

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The Sun Shines on the Mood: Mood in “All Summer in a Day”

By Joel Lawore, III Form

The Sun Shines on the Mood: Mood in Bradbury’s “All Summer in a Day”

Instructor’s Note: Students were tasked with writing a concise, clear, analytical paragraph on a topic of their choosing in response to Ray Bradbury’s “All Summer in a Day.”

In “The Lottery,” by Ray Bradbury, the sun coming out for the first time shifts the mood from gloomy to joyful through the use of buoyant words and the reaction of the children. Bradbury carefully chooses certain words and phrases with bright connotations to shift the mood. An example of this occurs when he writes that the children were “feeling the sun on their cheeks like a warm iron” (Bradbury 3). Here, Bradbury uses jovial words such as “warm” to describe the sun. Bradbury’s diction creates a positive mood, shifting the overall atmosphere from dismal to radiant. In addition, Bradbury goes into detail when describing the children’s reaction to the sun to emphasize the joyful mood. For example, when the sun comes out, the children “ran for an hour and did not stop running” (Bradbury 4). They did not stop running because they were ecstatic that the sun had come out. The bright words that the author uses to describe the positive reaction of the children help to shift the mood from morose to merry. Ultimately, Bradbury’s word choice to describe the sun as well as the description of the children’s reaction to the sun shift the mood.

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“It’s Complicated”: Relationships in “Interpreter of Maladies”

By Marcus Permatteo, IV Form

In the short story “Interpreter of Maladies” by Jhumpa Lahiri, both Mrs. Das and Mr. Kapasi have complicated relationships with their families. Each has a spouse and several children, yet show unfaithful qualities toward their families. Due to these unfaithful traits, their love for their families is questionable. As the characters reveal their feelings in the story, however, it is clear that Mr. Kapasi loves his family more than Mrs. Das because he makes continuous attempts to save his marriage, he is faithful to his wife, and he continues to love his children. Mrs. Das does none of these things. Mr. Kapasi tried to save his relationship with his wife, while Mrs. Das did not. Neither Mr. Kapasi nor Mrs. Das have loving relationships with their spouses. However, it is clear that Mr. Kapasi tried for a long time to make things work (more…)