“The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson tells about the village lottery, which, unlike the normal concept of a lottery, involves a village dweller being stoned to death by the rest of the town. Tessie protests that the lottery is not fair when her husband’s name is drawn, so the…
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Though he keeps saying that he is going to turn back for his wife’s sake, he stays long enough to watch all of the good townspeople, including his wife, engage in a ceremony of the devil. While both stories have a blunt emphasis on the irony aspect, they each use other literary devices to truly show what irony is that are unique to each separate story, therefore allowing each story to display irony in their own way.
Irony is the most used device in both stories; indeed, irony can be considered to be a vital plot point. In “The Lottery”, the use of irony is seen when Tessie makes her opinion known that the lottery is unfair after her husband’s name is drawn. In an attempt to be fair, the village redraws on the lottery, though Tessie’s name is chosen. Had Tessie not said anything, though she was only trying to save her husband, she would have been spared. Tessie should have left well enough alone and let the village go about doing what it has for years instead of putting in her input. In “Young Goodman Brown”, the irony can be seen in how Faith is concerned for her own welfare on the night that her husband goes out. Her husband has no idea that the thing that he is worried about for himself is the one thing that his wife is involved in. Another use of irony in “Young Goodman Brown” is the fact that Brown’s wife’s name is Faith, which is a very popular name among Christian women. Not only is the ironic in the sense that Faith appears to be involved in something that opposes Christianity, but because Brown is doing something behind his wife’s back, which shows that his wife should not have faith in him.
In regard to symbolism, “The Lottery” uses the lottery and the black box to convey the illogicality of the lottery itself, thus deepening the use of irony. The lottery symbolizes traditions that are passed down in communities without anybody questioning the morals or logic behind the bizarreness of the
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