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Essay on The Lottery and What A Thought

Comparing The Lottery and What A Thought

The short stories I have chosen were “The Lottery” and “What A Thought” by

Shirley Jackson. Shirley Jackson is considered a morbid writer due to the fact that she

writes her stories with the intent to shock her readers into seeing the truth behind human

nature. Her work deals with an evil presence in everyday life. “The Lottery” is a chilling

tale of an everyday town and their annual lottery. It shows how cruel a town can be in

protecting their tradition and rituals and how not even friendship matters. The second,

being found in a collection of 50 short stories found after Jackson’s death, shows how

quickly a wife of many years can turn on her husband without warning. Both stories

contained strong imagery and foreshadowing events leading up to the climax. “The

Lottery” was written shortly after World War II, however it is unknown as to when

Jackson wrote “What A Thought”.

“The Lottery” and “What A Thought” follow Shirley Jackson’s usual scheme of

shock value. Both stories show of how quickly, no matter what length of time people

have coincided together and bonded together, one can turn on another. “The Lottery”

showed of how a small everyday town will do anything to hold their traditional values.

The town believed that they had to make a human sacrifice to the land in order to have

good crops. Therefore every year they held a lottery to find out who the sacrifice would

be. In the story “What A Thought” a husband who would do absolutely anything to keep

his wife happy was brutally killed just because that is the way his wife felt on that day.

These are things that tie in…

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…mmer is associated with life, not death. In “What A Thought” the husband is

almost perfect. Who would ever want to kill the perfect husband? Just moments before

the terrible thoughts the wife was feeling pride for her husband who never did things like

sleep after dinner as most men do. How her husband would do anything for her and yet

without wanting to kill him, she had the longing to do so.

Shirley Jackson definitely can prove a point. She uses great foreshadowing, irony

and symbolism shown in both of these stories. Her style is unique to other writers but

does not differ much within her own writings. “The Lottery” and “What A Thought”

were very good selections for me to chose because they held great meaning behind dark

story lines. I look forward to reading more of her work and researching her character.

Dramatic Irony in Sophocles’ Oedipus the King

Dramatic Irony in Sophocles’ Oedipus the King

Oedipus the King is a Greek tragedy written by Sophocles. Sophocles knowing that his audience is aware of the outcome of the play utilizes that knowledge to create various situations in which dramatic irony play key roles. Dramatic irony is when the audience knows the tragic truth before the characters do. Through his use of irony Sophocles manages to avoid retelling an old tale, though the audience is cognizant of the story’s end they are intrigued by the irony present in the story. Sophocles made liberal use of irony. By doing this he tantalized the viewer into wanting to see how the events that occurred later would mentally affect the main character, in this case Oedipus.

Oedipus is self-confident, intelligent, and strong willed. Ironically these are the very traits which bring about his tragic discovery. Because of these traits Oedipus was able to solve the riddle given…

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… attempted to show examples of dramatic irony and how they apply to the story line in the play. I thoroughly enjoyed “Oedipus the King” due to the style Sophocles used and because I normally enjoy tragedies such as this. I believe tragedies cause one to question every aspect of life which would explain why many of the plays were written in this time frame. This play held up to it’s expectations and I look forward to seeing more dramatic irony in this form in the future.

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