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Writer on Selective Exposition in The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson

Assignment id 1003542
Discipline Writing
Assignment type Essay
Words 2159
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Usually when someone hears the term "lottery" the first thing that springs to mind is a sizable sum of cash that individuals compete against highly impractical chances to triumph. Shirley Jackson's story The Lottery could imply a similar notion based on the title alone, however, the narrative is full of unknowns never showing precisely when and where the story occurs, or why the lottery exists; even what the lottery is isn't disclosed until the very end. Nevertheless despite Jackson's omission of information from The Lottery, she manages to make an overtone of mystery that compels the reader to grasp that the universe of the narrative rather than define it with respect to the real world and form their own opinions. Often in stories, setting is an integral component, which the more detailed the setting, the more believable the universe of the story is. Jackson does not follow this fashion within her story; the sole information Jackson gives the reader concerning the world of The Lottery, is that it happens on "The morning of June 27th..." and "...in the village that there were only around three hundred people..." (235). It is evident that this is not a world driven narrative, because so few details are given about the village that it takes place in. However Jackson is only one writer to include a scarcity of exposition. Raymond Carver, wrote in a similar manner, using hardly any details beneath the understanding that: "...it's potential, at a poem or a brief narrative, to write about trivial things and items utilizing commonplace but exact language, and to endow those tings...with massive, actually startling power" (qtd. in May 48). The lack of information broadens the mystery of this story, and presents the opportunity for the reader to fill in the blanks such as time in place; by letting the reader.

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