Short stories

Hints of Evil: How Shirley Jackson Foreshadows the True Meaning of the Lottery

Nearly everyone who reads Shirley Jackson’s short story The Lottery cannot even begin to fathom the true meaning of the lottery until it has already happened. The shock that we experience at the end on learning that the lottery’s winner becomes a sacrificial lamb to fulfill a tradition that has long lost its meaning catches us off guard. And I think this is partly the reason that the short story is still a success among Jackson’s readers; unknown to the reader, she builds on suspense that we only come to realize in the end. The hints that Jackson provides throughout the story only become evident to the reader after the first read. It is then that we go back to the story, from the beginning, and start seeing the instances of foreshadowing in bolder colors.

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Violence During Slavery: Twelves Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

Solomon Northup’s memoir ‘Twelves Years a Slave’ has received notable recognition in contemporary media. Among the many themes he explores, violence is central, narrating accounts of his and other slaves’ experiences in the hands of white slave owners. While it is apparent that violence was part of slavery in America, most slaveholders tried to deny this, masking it with such explanations as the slave tried to escape with every chance they got. Violence was a common aspect of slavery, used to achieve capture, punishment, silence, and submission in Northup’s narrative.

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Short stories

A Thin Veil of Satire- Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Numerous authors have opined Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “Young Goodman Brown“, each with a new perspective or an improvement of their former. While it is not a much explored topic, avid readers of Hawthorne can attest to the fact that some of his works also use deep level humor to address human follies. Now, combining this kind of humor and an attack on (Puritanism) religious practices gives us humor as a standalone linguistic device that is not only symbolic and thematic, but also signify.

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