The Lottery - Summary

The Lottery - Summary

  • Submitted By: pepsinight
  • Date Submitted: 12/13/2008 12:20 AM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 2798
  • Page: 12
  • Views: 1

The Lottery

"The Lottery" is a short story by Shirley Jackson, first published in the June 26, 1948 issue of The New Yorker.[1]

The magazine and Jackson herself were surprised by the highly negative reader response. Many readers cancelled their subscriptions, and hate mail continued to arrive throughout the summer. In North America the story was banned. Since then, it has been accepted as a classic American short story, subject to many critical interpretations and media adaptations.

Contents [hide]
1 Plot summary
2 Reception
3 Critical interpretations
4 Media adaptations
5 Other
6 Listen to
7 References
8 Sources
9 See also
10 External links

[edit] Plot summary
The story contrasts commonplace details of contemporary life with a barbaric ritual known as the "lottery." The setting is a small American town (population of approximately 300 and growing) where the locals display a strange and somber mood, from which unusual things can evidently be observed, like children gathering stones, as they assemble June 27 for their annual lottery. After the head of each family draws a small piece of paper, one slip with a black spot indicates the Hutchinson family has been chosen. When each member of that family draws again to see which family member "wins," Tessie Hutchinson is the final choice. She is then stoned to death by everyone present, including her own family, as well as both the young boys and young girls as a sacrifice to ensure a good harvest, according to the belief of the community.

[edit] Reception
Controversy surrounding the story brought an overwhelming amount of mail, phone calls and hundreds of canceled subscriptions. In Private Demons, Jackson's biographer Judy Oppenheimer wrote, "Nothing in the magazine before or since would provoke such a huge outpouring of fury, horror, rage, disgust and intense fascination."

Amid the optimism of the post-WWII years, many readers of family magazines were shocked or confused to find the...

Similar Essays