by Shirley Jackson
Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?
Deadpan, Detached, Calm
This serves to underscore the horror of the lottery, as there is no shift in narrative voice when the story shifts profoundly from generic realism to nightmarish symbolism. We go from reading about a small village on a sunny summer day to witnessing the villagers execute a member of their own community, all without the slightest change in tone form the author.