Shirley Jackson's Short Stories
In the short stories written by Shirley Jackson, the author shows the reader how people act in different life situations. Good examples of her stories that portray this are "Charles", "The Lottery", and "After You My Dear Alphonse". Shirley Jackson's short stories make very strong comments about mankind, and people's reactions to episodes in their life. In Shirley Jackson's short story "After You My Dear Alphonse", the common reaction of stereotyping is displayed. The author takes a typical woman and gives her the typical response to someone different from her. Shirley Jackson says a lot about how people will react in that kind of situation. She shows how people judge what they don't know a common mistake among all of us. "Charles", another short story written by Jackson, also reveals human nature. She takes a typical family and shows that behind what is visible to us, could be something no one expected. In this story, a mother refuses to look at what is right under her nose, for fear of discovering something that she doesn't want to see- her precious innocent little boy causing serious trouble. Instead, she would rather believe that it is another little boy named Charles. Not only does this show the mother's reaction, but it also displays her son, Laurie's, who is really causing the trouble in school. Why is he hinting to his parents instead of coming right out and telling them? Could it be because he wants his parents to figure it out on their own? Shirley Jackson shows how these two people react to this situation. Furthermore, she also shows how it is dealt with, by both the parents and the child. In this case, the parent wanted desperately not to see the truth, whereas the son wanted it desperately to be revealed. A third story written by Shirley Jackson entitled "The Lottery" deals with irony, in both the plot and the people's reactions. The author starts out her story with a beautiful summer day; everyone happy and excited for the annual event of the lottery. The whole town gathers together, the children playing, the wives gossiping and the men conversing and telling an occasional joke. What the reader doesn't know is that the lottery is really a drawing for a person who is to be stoned to death. No one in the town seems to have a problem with this event. It is a great tradition that has been going on for years. People just seem to go along with it, without stopping to think what it really means. This relates to how people react to similar situations today and don't want change. Shirley Jackson is showing how people prefer to go along with traditions, and carry on with something, in spite of the fact that it may be wrong. The characters in Shirley Jackson's short stories portray real people, in the way they act and think. Her stories also show a variety of personalities.