How to Analyse a Short Story; Analysis Example

Are you wondering how to analyze a short story? It may seem like a difficult task. Many people read for pleasure, but few think about the deeper implications of the fiction that they consume. You might read novels in your spare time, but have you really thought about the deeper themes of those novels? For that matter, do you think about the inner workings of your favorite movies or what motivates your favorite musicians to write the songs that they do? For most people, the answer is no.

Fortunately, it is easy to find a short story analysis example to use on the Internet. If you want to learn how to analysis a story, this sample analysis of “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, one of the most famous short stories in American literature, will teach you how to analyze a short story for essay quickly and easily.

Short Story Analysis Example

“The Lottery” is about a young woman from a small town who is ruthlessly murdered by the people of the village in hopes of having a good harvest. The name of the story is drawn from the lottery that the people use to determine who will be sacrificed in this grotesque ritual. It is totally random and is done without malice; the townspeople do not hate Tessie, the woman who is chosen to be killed, but merely selected as a continuation of a practice they have done for generations.

When it comes to a short story analysis example, you will want to avoid rehashing the plot due to the fact that anyone who reads the story will know what the plot is. The purpose of a story analysis example is to dig deeper, to excavate the themes within the story and present its hidden meanings for public analysis. In particular, your personal interpretation of the story is important, which is why many works are often analyzed from ideological or philosophical perspectives or lenses.

In the short story analysis example of “The Lottery,” one of the dominant themes is the danger of blindly following tradition. The townspeople in the story do not think about the barbarism of what they are doing; the thought that killing a random person every year is a cruel and abhorrent act literally does not cross their minds. They engage in the ritual every year simply because that is the way things have always been for them, and they don’t even consider that things could be different.

Another short story analysis essay example in “The Lottery” is the theme of scapegoating. In the case of this story, Tessie is a literal scapegoat, plucked from the crowd and turned into an object on which the people of the village can focus their hatred and frustration. While the reader might see this ritual as barbaric—and while it may be barbaric—the psychology underlying it is something that every society may engage in. While modern society may not literally kill people as part of the scapegoating process, blaming various groups or individuals, from racial minorities to women to youth subcultures, for social decline and destruction is all too common in our world.

“The Lottery” also is themed around the idea of mob psychology. The village in the story is a tight-knit one where everyone knows each other and relationships are harmonious, yet when Tessie’s name is drawn in the lottery, all of her friends and family abandon reason to stone her to death. Again, this short story analysis example is one that can be seen in any society even if it doesn’t manifest in this grotesque fashion.

How to Analyze a Short Story Step by Step

As the above short story analysis example shows, it is easy to examine a short story. If you are looking for a sample of the short story to analyze, you merely need to read the text carefully and examine its deeper meanings. Go beyond the characters and plot points and ask yourself the why of what happens and what it all means. This is the foundation of effective literary analysis.

If you have ever wondered how to analyze a short story, this guide will hopefully help you. There are as many ways to analyze a story as there are ways to read a story, so you should use this short story analysis example as a loose guide to probing the mysteries of literature. What kinds of short story samples can you come up with? The sky is the limit when it comes to short story analysis.

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