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In “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Lottery,” Edgar Allan Poe and Shirley Jackson use a variety of methods to create a willing suspension of disbelief for the reader. The authors’ uses of the literary elements of foreshadowing, setting, point of view, and symbolism help to create a feeling of nonchalance in the reader, leading to this suspension of disbelief. A comparison of these authors’ uses of these elements in these stories will show how each element contributes to this indifference.
“The Lottery” gives us many examples of foreshadowing right from the very beginning of the story. The first example of this occurs when, as the townspeople begin gathering for the lottery, a child, Bobby Martin “…had already stuffed his pockets full of stones…” and “the other boys…eventually made a great pile of stones in one corner of the square….” (Charters, 587) On the surface, there is nothing threatening about boys playing with stones, in fact, it’s quite innocuous and causes no alarm in the reader. It is only after we learn the purpose of the stones that the fact of the boys gathering them early in the story becomes disturbing. Often, the innocent details in “The Lottery” foreshadow its violent conclusion. For example, Tess Hutchinson’s late arrival to the town square immediately sets her apart from her neighbors, but again, we view this event with a lack of concern. What woman hasn’t been late somewhere for wanting to tidy up before leaving the house? Only after the ending is...