Thursday, October 24, 2013

"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson

Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" might just be the first piece of short literature I ever became enamored with.

As part of the high school curriculum, I read it in the classroom along with the other students. I firmly remember lifting my head at the story's conclusion, the shock, the confusion, the horror. It was a lot to take in, but humor helps: "Be a good sport, Tessie," became the catch phrase that year, whenever my friends and I were forcing a bit of teen peer pressure on each other. (For that reason, I'll always associate this story with my first sip of beer, and a few other things I'm not going to admit to.)

Anyway, here's the link to The New Yorker where it was originally published in 1948, (for those with a subscription since it's been archived):

Here's a somewhat imperfect (typos) copy for everyone else:

Listen to it here:

And here is a really interesting piece surrounding the stir that the story's publication first caused, how the story solicited more letters (300 plus) than the magazine had ever seen, when readers weren't entirely sure that it was fiction.

Shirley Jackson

Interesting tidbit: It's said the Jackson once admitted that all of the characters in "The Lottery" are based on real people she knew in North Bennington.

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