“The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson

Shirley Jackson wrote “The Lottery” in 1948 . She says that she came up with the idea while walking her child in the stroller and basically sat down and wrote out what became an almost final draft. The story was received with mixed reviews at first. You can find the story on page 319 of your textbook or linked on this page.

Answer the following questions by using the comments feature. You can create an account, if you want to have a profile. I must be able to identify you by your post, so make sure your name is included. You should respond to at least 3 of my questions and respond to two classmates posts.

 

 

When did you realize exactly what was going to occur? Be honest!

In my opinion, the story’s surprise ending depends on Jackson’s use of point-of-view. Which point of view does she use, and why is it important to the surprise ending?

Another literary device that Jackson uses is foreshadowing. These clues may not become apparent until after you read the story for the first tie. What clues to the ending can you find? For example, what do the villager’s attitudes towards the black box indicate about their feelings toward the lottery?

If the lottery is so horrible, why do the villager’s participate in it each year? What does paragraph 32 hint might have been the original reason for the lottery?

How does the story “force readers to see that their own lives contained inhumanity and cruelty?

 View the video here.

Vocab

  • profusely
  • reprimands
  • jovial
  • hesitation
  • paraphernalia
  • perfunctory
  • defiantly
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40 Responses to “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson

  1. sara martellotta says:

    When did you realize exactly what was going to occur?

    When the crowds came together to pick up the rocks.

    • Michael M. says:

      Yeah i feel the same way, I couldnt tell what was going on until they picked up the rocks, and then I had to read the last couple of paraghraphs just to understand and actually believe what they were doing.

      • Ms. Silveira says:

        But when you look back after you see them stoning Mrs. Hutchison, you can see many hints about the stones. Also, teh villagers seem to hate the black box.

  2. sara martellotta says:

    These clues may not become apparent until after you read the story for the first tie. What clues to the ending can you find?

    The villagers whose names were called were nervous and and hesitant.

    What do the villager’s attitudes towards the black box indicate about their feelings toward the lottery?

    That both the black box and the lottery were traditions.

  3. sara martellotta says:

    If the lottery is so horrible, why do the villager’s participate in it each year?

    I think they participate because they feel a since of tradition and they have to live up to other peoples expectations.

    • Amanda Howard says:

      That’s what I think also. But if you really think about it. Those are the worst reasons to keep a deadly, horrific traditions alive.

      • Ms. Silveira says:

        Can you think of any modern traditions that we keep but are not really necessary?

      • sara martellotta says:

        Ms. Silveira

        I think weddings are traditions we keep but are not really necessary. In my opinion I don’t think a piece of paper signifies the bond between two people.

      • Michelle Kittredge says:

        Ms. Silveira,
        I agree with Sara. Love is more sentimental and emotional rather than a written document. Also, I think our society celebrates traditions that are unnecessary including St. Patrick’s day. Its a national holiday but it doesn’t represent every race in the nation.

      • Ms. Silveira says:

        Well–it is not really a national holiday. It is not a work-free day like real national holidays. However, you do make a point. How many of those drinking green beer really know the story behind the day?

  4. michelle kittredge says:

    What do the villagers’ attitudes towards the black box indicate about their feelings toward the lottery?

    The villagers’ attitudes towards the black box indicate that they take the annual lottery seriously.Also, it is a tradition among their village.

    • sara martellotta says:

      Michelle
      I don’t know if you watched the video from the link above but I did and you can see it in their faces, also in the reading you can feel the tension. Great story!

  5. michelle kittredge says:

    If the lottery is so horrible, why do the villagers participate in it each year?

    The villagers participate every year because they want to keep the tradition well kept.

    • Michael M. says:

      See, I thought that they were actually doing it only to make the crops flowrish.

    • sara martellotta says:

      Michelle I agree with your response.
      As humans we tend to stick to what we know. Changes in our normal routines can be good and bad thing. So why change if we dont have to?

      • Ms. Silveira says:

        Michael also has a point. Originally, that is why teh tradition started. In fact, many ancient society’s believed that blood sacrifices would help the land flourish. I am thinking especially about the sacred kings of ancient greece. However, we often keep the tradition without remembering the significance. Where do Christmas trees, easter eggs, and mistletoe come from, for example?

      • Halima said says:

        Sara i agree with you,it is really hard to change tradition you have known all your life,since that was the only thing the villagers knew.

    • nerissa Rivera says:

      michelle i agree with you . the villagers participate in the lottery because its a tradtion and they wanna keep it alive even tho it a very horrbile tradtion that they should take away .

  6. Amanda Howard says:

    i noticed what actually was going to happen at the end of the story. no lie. i was so confused, the story made me want to read to the end to find out what happens. i still can’t get over it.

  7. Amanda Howard says:

    The Lottery is a horrible act in this case. I think that the reason why they (the villagers) keep the lottery is because they are afraid of change. The villagers believe this act has some effect on their crops. They seem to want to live a controlled life within the village. Believe that this is the correct way to live.

  8. Amanda Howard says:

    When i look back on the story I come up with some clues that could have made me see clearer about the act which would take place. such as rocks, town meeting in the center of town outside, pulling slips out of this important black box. I had asked my self in the start on why they mentioned rocks being gaurded in the first place. Since the villagers do dont to upgrade the black box to a new box, this showed me how strong the villagers believed in ritual, traditions, etc. they did not want change. seems like they refuse and look down upon the thought of change.

    • Ms. Silveira says:

      Amanda, I like that you admit to asking yourself questions as you read. That is an excellent reading strategy. In this case, your question was eventually answered.

  9. Darlene walker says:

    When did you realize exactly what was going to occur?
    i realized what was going to happen in the beginning of the story when the little boys were making piles of stones.
    if the lottery is so horrible, why do the villager’s participate in it each year?
    they participate in it each year becuase it is part of a tradition that has been going on for centuries.
    what does paragraph 32 hint might have been the original reason for the lottery?
    paragraph 32 hints that the lottery may have been used either for population control or for a sacrifice.

  10. Ms. Silveira says:

    You are sharp to pick up on the clues that early! I think you are more correct as you lean toward sacrifice. Population control doesn’t seem that imperative.

  11. nerissa Rivera says:

    when did i realize exactly what was going to occur?

    in the beginning i had some kind of feeling it had to be stones but i wasnt to sure til i really started reading than in the middle of the story i know for sure …..

  12. Felicia Akrie says:

    what a story, i din’t get it untill they started to pick the rock.and i think the villagers believe very strongly in rituals and tradition, because i wonder why they still participate in this horrible lottery.

    • jerome says:

      yes i agree their was a strong tradition,but they were changing and getting away from it.some of the people was talking about how they didnt like it any more.

      • Ms. Silveira says:

        Good point. It was old an Warner who called them a pack of crazy fools. He associated civilization with the lotery–without even knowing why.

  13. Felicia Akrie says:

    for sure i really love the story, you can’t just stop in the middle, it pushes you to go further untill you know what happen at the end.

    • Ms. Silveira says:

      I am glad you enjoyed the story. I was horrified that people would just go along with something so clearly inhumane just because of social pressure. They even gave little Davey a rock to throw at his mother!

  14. Halima said says:

    When did you realize exactly what was going to happen.

    To be honest i really did not realize what was going to happen until i finished the story and watched the video.

    If the lottery is so horrible,why do the villagers participate in it each year.

    I think they participate each year because it is their tradition and they are afraid of change.

  15. Ms. Silveira says:

    I want everyone to think of point-of-view. Notice that the author sees like a reporter. Some authors show you people’s thoughts. Why doesn’t this author?

  16. jerome says:

    I actually didnt have no idea what was going to happen . I was thinking that the kids were getting rocks for fun.

  17. jerome says:

    I thought they was just going to draw the lottery.

  18. when did you realize exactly what was going to happend?

    when the crowed came together to pick the rock, and i was surprise they gave little Davey a rock to throw at his mom.whao!

  19. daisyzhu says:

    As a primitivistic ritual being transported to a modern society, the essential aspect of the ritual has been faded. People have no idea why they celebrate a festival and why doing a ritual is importance to them. They do it only because it is a tradition.

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