Suspense and Surprise

The lottery is a short story published in the year 1948. It stands out to be the most famous short story in the history of American literature. After its release, the book attracted negative response to the utter surprise of its author. Things changed for the better since then the book has enjoyed acceptance because of keen interpretations. Reading the story evokes puzzlement and curiosity that are the key factors of its surprising ending. The surprising end could also be attributed to the author’s lack of experience. The deliberate use of suspense by Shirley Jackson developed the unexpected ending and to obscure the meaning of the short story.

Suspense in literature refers to the situation of uncertainty or doubtfulness. Surprise refers to the unanticipated encounter or an event. “The Lottery” in Shirley’s story uses an incident of public stone throwing; this surprises the reader because it is contrary to the reader who expects to see people win lotteries. The day starts well with warm temperature of a summer day, this introduction enhances the feeling the reader gets when reading the story. “The Lottery” focuses on the central theme of human wickedness. The author successfully does this by showing everybody as an average being. In the story, the need to know the protagonist remained a futile exercise.

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All characters got equal treatment to ensure that the individual for sacrificing could be anyone. The conversation in the story hops from anticipated to unexpected statements. When Mr. Summer suggests that the black lottery box should be replaced, it is surprising to note that people are not willing to replace the box that is a tradition of the society. There is a surprise to individual characters, like the old man who does not expect a young chap like Joe Summer to stand at a raised point and start joking with everybody (Shirley 14).

Jackson’s tone remained detached; the tone leaves the reader with much suspense as to whether anybody listened to Tessie when giving her speeches. Characters’ actions create surprise to the readers. It is surprising to see Mrs. Delacroix, supposedly Tessie’s best ally reproach Tessie. Mrs. Delacroix makes Tessie a legitimate sport by mentioning that all of them took equal opportunities, with an eventuality of selecting an enormous stone and throwing it at Tessie. The tension created by everyone wanting to have the lottery completed, with actions opposed to the outcome by disrupting the process with stone throwing of the lottery surprises the reader of the short story “The Lottery”.

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It is surprising to the old man Warner that the north village intended to halt the lottery yet they finished conducting it quickly. The outcome of the lottery is surprising; instead of someone winning the hefty sum of money, Tessie became the scapegoat of the lottery. The implications foreshadowed in the piling of stones by children was a cause for the alarm to those present at the square, surprisingly not any single person could interpret this and take proper caution. The sequential happening of events remains surprising to the reader because the story is narrated at a limited present point of view. The histories of chosen characters were told but characters thoughts are not told, hence, leaving the reader in much suspense of what their thoughts were. If Shirley Jackson put the thoughts of characters in the story then the end of the story could be predicted.

Flat characters were used to lessen the high chances of surprise. For instance, men commenced to assemble, appraising their children, talking about planting and rain, taxes and trucks. This is a group of persons adding to the familiarity of the scene at the beginning of the short story. Contrary to the expectations of readers, Tessie Hutchinson, who opposes the lottery and its injustices is the one who is hit by stones an indicator that the majority of the people were wrong. The reader is left in suspense at some point in the story. The wife to Mr. Summer is said to be a scold but the author fails to brief the reader how justified it is to call her a scold. The point that Mr. Summer lacks children is not elaborated on whether Mr. Summer is impotant or his wife is unfertile (Darryl 12).

The tool of suspense in the story applies when the villagers are obliged to open their papers, in order to see who has been selected for the lottery. The fact that there is revealing of whom was picked, the reader is left not knowing the criteria for picking winners. The high expectations of what the lottery may be put the reader in suspense of seeing who the winner is and what befalls him or her. The question about when the lottery box was made and when the oldest man in the village was born is also suspense. The reader is left questioning who made the first lottery box and what improvements could be done to the box should it be replaced.

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The story (“The Lottery”) by Shirley Jackson harbors teachings about life and its reality. There is no fairness in the ending of the story. Tessie is selected randomly by a drawing to get stoned, giving the predicaments facing many scapegoats of these days. The teachings are that organizations that fail to deliver to societal expectations always avoid responsibility and blame it on individuals. The ending of the story is a mess, because it ends surprising the reader with the principal character losing. The protagonist fails to get what she wants and ends up being tortured by the system. The reader’s expectations of the winner are to take home something fabulous, the author gives them unanticipated ending.

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