Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” is told with the narrator in a third person’s perspective.
While the narrator goes on to tell a story about a small village that celebrates and unusual event. He or she, drops important details about the lottery and why nobody wants to win, but they are easily overlooked. The story starts out with a crowd of people getting ready to draw a piece of paper out of an old black box, and wishing that they did not receive the one paper with a dot on it. Since the narrator is very stingy with the information he gives the reader about how the villagers feel about the lottery, it builds up the suspense throughout the story. If this story was told in any other perspective the narrator would not be able to give the readers a suspenseful ending. Due to the fact if it was told in first person the narrator would need to reveal the person’s thoughts and emotions which would give away the true meaning of the lottery. Even though ” The Lottery” is told in third person the narrator put himself in the story, so he can give the readers information about what is going on. Like when they said “Although Mr.
Summers and everyone else in the village knew the answer perfectly well”. Also when they try to remember why they do the lottery they say ” at one time, some people remembered, there had been a recital of some sort”. The way the narrator limits the information the readers received allows him to casually give the important information out without them knowing.
Since the narrator matched the way the villagers felt about the lottery to the atmosphere of the story, it allowed the story to have a better flow. As the narrator explained the details and the conversation the villagers had that day, he is able to shed some light on the lottery. Also the narrator gave some insight to the condition of the black box that was used to conduct the lottery.
“had spent one year in Mr. Graves’s barn and another year underfoot in the post office and sometimes it was set on a shelf in the Martin grocery and left there.” The black box just like the lottery became obscured by the story and became well worn but the villagers could not let it go. Because it represented the idea of the lottery, they are both terrifying, but is something they cannot stop.
Since the narrator only gives out small details about the lottery and the box, it allows the narrator to introduce hints about the true meaning of both. For example, “Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones.” This is significant because the stones are what is used to kill the person that wins the lottery, but we think nothing of it because the information is given so casually.
Also, since the narrator does not give the thoughts of the villagers it is harder to understand the mean or the reason behind it, but as the story goes on you slowly start to understand through the actions taken by the villagers. You start they realize that nobody wants to win the lottery, but you will not find the true meaning till the end of the story. As you can see if this story was told in any other perspective than third person all of the suspense and curiosity would be gone. Which would leave the readers bored not wanting to read the whole thing, and the third person perspective allows the reader to be able to follow along. If the story was told in first person the narrator `would have to tell the thoughts and feelings of that character which would give away the punch at the end. The first person perspective, also does not give the reader a challenge, it just gives out the information all willy nilly and it loses suspense.
So with the story being in third person, it allows the story to be full of mystery, and suspense also it is able to surprise the readers instead of giving it away at the beginning. Because all the information the reader received was based on the actions and the dialogue of the villagers, it gave all the power the narrator needed to give the final punch.