The Lottery and Other Stories

!!> Reading ➸ The Lottery and Other Stories  ➰ Author Shirley Jackson – Johndore.co.uk
  • Paperback
  • 302 pages
  • The Lottery and Other Stories
  • Shirley Jackson
  • English
  • 14 August 2019
  • 0374529531

About the Author: Shirley Jackson

Shirley Jackson was an influential American author A popular writer in her time, her work has received increasing attention from literary critics in recent years She has influenced such writers as Stephen King, Nigel Kneale, and Richard Matheson.She is best known for her dystopian short story, The Lottery 1948 , which suggests there is a deeply unsettling underside to bucolic, smalltown Ameri Shirley Jackson was an influential American author A popular writer in her time, her work has received increasing attention from literary critics in recent years She has influenced such writers as Stephen King, Nigel Kneale, and Richard Matheson.She is best known for her dystopian short story, The Lottery 1948 , which suggests there is a deeply unsettling underside to bucolic, smalltown America In her critical biography of Shirley Jackson, Lenemaja Friedman notes that when Shirley Jackson s story The Lottery was published in the June 28, 1948, issue of The New Yorker, it received a response that no New Yorker story had ever received Hundreds of letters poured in that were characterized by, as Jackson put it, bewilderment, speculation and old fashioned abuse Jackson s husband, the literary critic Stanley Edgar Hyman, wrote in his preface to a posthumous anthology of her work that she consistently refused to be interviewed, to explain or promote her work in any fashion, or to take public stands and be the pundit of the Sunday supplements She believed that her books would speak for her clearly enough over the years Hyman insisted the darker aspects of Jackson s works were not, as some critics claimed, the product of personal, even neurotic, fantasies , but that Jackson intended, as a sensitive and faithful anatomy of our times, fitting symbols for our distressing world of the concentration camp and the Bomb , to mirror humanity s Cold War era fears Jackson may even have taken pleasure in the subversive impact of her work, as revealed by Hyman s statement that she was always proud that the Union of South Africa banned The Lottery , and she felt that they at least understood the story.In 1965, Jackson died of heart failure in her sleep, at her home in North Bennington Vermont, at the age of 48


The Lottery and Other Stories The Lottery, One Of The Most Terrifying Stories Written In This Century, Created A Sensation When It Was First Published In The New Yorker Power And Haunting, And Nights Of Unrest Were Typical Reader Responses This Collection, The Only One To Appear During Shirley Jackson S Lifetime, Unites The Lottery With Twenty Four Equally Unusual Stories Together They Demonstrate Jackson S Remarkable Range From The Hilarious To The Truly Horrible And Power As A Storyteller

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10 thoughts on “The Lottery and Other Stories

  1. Jeffrey Keeten says:

    Grace Paley once described the male female writer phenomenon to me by saying, Women have always done men the favor of reading their work, but the men have not returned the favor I do believe that Miss Jackson was making a very pointed comment about male readers I don t consciously think about reading a male or female writer, but I know that I do readmale writers I went back and looked at the last thirty books I ve read 22 male writers 73%8 female writers 27%I wasn t expecting to fin Grace Paley once described the male female writer phenomenon to me by saying, Women have always done men the favor of reading their work, but the men have not returned the favor I do believe that Miss Jackson was making a very pointed comment about male readers I don t consciously think about reading a male or female writer, but I know that I do readmale writers I went back and looked at the last thirty books I ve read 22 male writers 73%8 female writers 27%I wasn t expecting to find a 50 50 split or anything, but I was still shocked to see that my ratio was so extremely out of balance Thank goodness I had just read an Ursula Le Guin and this Shirley Jackson, or my ratio would have been evenskewed So maybe I m not consciously selecting books due to the gender of the writer, but maybe I should beconscious about selectingwomen writers for my reading queue Oh no, I have to readVirginia Woolf Oh yes These stories are all nicely tied together by a single thread of cruelty Maybe cruelty is too strong a word Maybe describing it as a meanness, or an unkindness, with how people treat other people would beaccurate In these stories, there are jilted lovers, racism, unreasonable fears, con men, lost souls, a book thief, petty judgments, aspersions cast recklessly, and with the final story, there is a community of people trapped by their own insidious customs We are surrounded by inhumanity.Jackson sets each of these stories up with perfectly normal scenarios, and then a spear appears out of the darkness and stabs through your vitals The spear is barbed with wicked spikes so that it hooks into your skin and requires a careful, painful removal before you can move onto the next story I couldn t help but think of some of the barbs I ve had hit me unexpectedly over the years I m a pincushion.The final story, The Lottery, was quite the sensation when it was published in The New Yorker in 1948 People cancelled their subscriptions They flooded the offices of the publisher with angry phone calls Jackson herself received over 300 letters of which only 13 were positive Even her parents didn t like the story It is always interesting to see how people react to things Occasionally, our editorial team at the publication of which I am a part owner will publish a story that will irritate some readers We are in the age of FOX NEWS and MSNBC where people are spoon fed a view of the world that is exactly like their own People now have even less tolerance for reading or hearing anything that deviates from their own beliefs than people did in 1948 They can agree with 99% of what a publication chooses to share with them, but if they read one article out of several hundred that they don t like,they cancel their subscription Does that make any sense Jackson and her publisher were shocked and, frankly, astounded at the vehement reaction to her story It certainly stirred up a lot of powerful emotions in people After the dust settled, I m sure that Jackson had to be privately pleased that something she wrote scared people or certainly inspired them to action Most writers prefer adoration to loathing or anger, but there had to be this moment where Jackson thought Wow, I touched a nerve, and I think I like it South Africa banned it.Looking at the story through a 2016 lense instead of a 1948 lense, I was not at all offended by the story, nor was I as shocked by the story as I certainly would have been 68 years ago, but it is still an unsettling concept There is the growing unease as you realize what is about to happen There is a welling of frustration with a group of people who continue to support an event that is trapped in ignorance and superstition I kept thinking to myself, Someone needs to take an ax to the black box that holds the community hostageThe black box grew shabbier each year by now it was no longer completely black but splintered badly along one side to show the original wood color, and in some places faded or stainedThe box s condition reflects the outdated concepts that inspired its creation in the first place Shirley Jackson may not have had the most endearing view of people She peels her characters like an onion, revealing them layer by layer We see the deceitfulness and the unscrupulousness that lurks at the center of so many people Jackson herself suffered from several psychosomatic illnesses and neuroses She was overweight and chain smoked I think she was all too aware of her own weaknesses She passed away in her sleep from a heart attack at 48 years old I have a feeling she was too hyper aware of the critical nature of life and ultimately crumbled piece by piece under the burden of this awareness R.I.P.If you wish to seeof my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at

  2. Bradley says:

    The one thing that really stands out about this collection of Shirley Jackson stories is this the subtlety.It s not over the top horror in any shape or fashion Rather, it s regular folk doing regular things and as we peel back layers and layers to their surroundings or their individual psyches, everything twists subtly The normal quickly becomes a twilight zone nightmare even if it s only a tiny little thing that s changed.A dog caught killing chickens shiver My goodness, that one killed m The one thing that really stands out about this collection of Shirley Jackson stories is this the subtlety.It s not over the top horror in any shape or fashion Rather, it s regular folk doing regular things and as we peel back layers and layers to their surroundings or their individual psyches, everything twists subtly The normal quickly becomes a twilight zone nightmare even if it s only a tiny little thing that s changed.A dog caught killing chickens shiver My goodness, that one killed me Dead.Some, like the Witch, was totally awesome and people of my generation would have just found it great fun, but I can see why the mommy freaked the hell out Of course, the little kid was rocking hard to it and why wouldn t he I loved the Tooth It was damn surreal and I was thinking along the lines of all the similar kinds of tales and novels to come after it Body hopping tales, indeed Butthan that, I was really impressed and fascinated at the look into 40 s racism, subtle or not, how badly women were treated and how badly they treated each other, and the general miasma of inhumanity everywhere.Some tales were all about the unspoken silence that surrounded mental illness and the insane pressure to keep a lid on it and remain normal Things like this may not be completely horror as the genre but the tension was definitely all horror.Shirly Jackson s stories were absolutely macabre, quite brilliant, and completely understated It s all about looking through the darkened mirror, seeing our normal lives, living them, and then seeing just how horrible we really are Great stuff

  3. Raeleen Lemay says:

    The Lottery is by far the best story in this collection, which made the process of reading all of the other stories a bit of a drag at times, but overall I enjoyed this A lot of Jackson s stories tackle big issues like racism and mental illness really effortlessly, and I loved that Plenty of them were also super dark and twisted but in Jackson s classic, understated and simple style, which made for a fun, creepy read at times I definitely prefer Shirley Jackson s novels, but this makes a grea The Lottery is by far the best story in this collection, which made the process of reading all of the other stories a bit of a drag at times, but overall I enjoyed this A lot of Jackson s stories tackle big issues like racism and mental illness really effortlessly, and I loved that Plenty of them were also super dark and twisted but in Jackson s classic, understated and simple style, which made for a fun, creepy read at times I definitely prefer Shirley Jackson s novels, but this makes a great addition to my collection and I m glad I read it

  4. Fabian says:

    After reading all these seemingly disconnected tales of hush hush Terror, evidently some pattern arises This chain of stories is where I found the masterpiece existing at the very core of the Novel Never before has subtlety been so effective In a masterpiece of the macabre , a few corpses, ghosts, demons should make cameos, surely Nah ah Not true here.Shirley Jackson is also the author of The Haunting of Hill House, a haunted house tale that suggests rather than shows like all the g After reading all these seemingly disconnected tales of hush hush Terror, evidently some pattern arises This chain of stories is where I found the masterpiece existing at the very core of the Novel Never before has subtlety been so effective In a masterpiece of the macabre , a few corpses, ghosts, demons should make cameos, surely Nah ah Not true here.Shirley Jackson is also the author of The Haunting of Hill House, a haunted house tale that suggests rather than shows like all the good ole horror movies I don t quite know how to approach a review about something I fell head over heels with move over Barker and, therefore, S King The tiny details is what enthralls readers of Jackson all the moments of dread that announce themselves only when one s in that sort of type of gothic mood.I suppose the title, The Lottery is muchthan just the final story in this collection which is also the best known, most popular of the bunch It also implies that to all these people, though some threads unite them most protagonists are female, have slight to severe OCD, live in New York City or the country there are tales with children and mothers in them, with slight transference of evil between them people turning against each other in a lesser degree of violence than in the culminating climax of the title story, an almost poetic announcement of the apocalypse written in code , even though there are sure fire connections Mr Harris is the name of almost every single male character found scattered in the stories , what occurs to these people, tragedy or sudden revulsion or deep depression or severe psychosis, is almost as if by a mystical collective lottery, one everyone plays in because everyone is alive You play it because you live Fate chooses you If you get picked, then it s your turn to experience something that makes the skin crawl

  5. Melki says:

    My 1949 Avon paperback it originally sold for 35 cents seems to be pushing Shirley Jackson as H.P Lovecraft with ovaries The cover proclaims A study in nightmares by the most haunting writer of this generation It s even subtitled Adventures of the Demon Lover Anyone who s ever read that story knows the lover in that tale isscoundrel than demon Whatever it takes to sell books, I suppose.Jackson s characters dothan throw stones at one another Their cutting, thoughtless re My 1949 Avon paperback it originally sold for 35 cents seems to be pushing Shirley Jackson as H.P Lovecraft with ovaries The cover proclaims A study in nightmares by the most haunting writer of this generation It s even subtitled Adventures of the Demon Lover Anyone who s ever read that story knows the lover in that tale isscoundrel than demon Whatever it takes to sell books, I suppose.Jackson s characters dothan throw stones at one another Their cutting, thoughtless remarks have the power to wound and leave scars Cruelty runs rampant as women snub and snipe at other women, and men bury themselves in their newpapers.The author proves to be a keen observer of human nature, picking up on all the little details that bring her mini masterpieces to life.From The Villager She went into Whelan s and sat at the counter, putting her copy of the Villager down on the counter next to her pocketbook and The Charterhouse of Parma, which she had read enthusiastically up to page fifty and only carried now for effect Am I the only one who s done this Waving around a copy of a book that I was not particularly fond of but wanted to show off in public so as to appear to be an intellectual Surely, I can t be Shirley must have done it too.So, there you have it Horror stories No Wonderful stories about sad and lonely people who seldom get their heart s desires Oh, yes

  6. Nandakishore Varma says:

    Very rarely does one find a short story collection where all stories are above average Kudos to Ms Jackson for producing a collection where all are excellent, and some really outstanding I wonder whether it is possible to fall in love with a lady who passed away when one was scarcely two years old If so, I m in love with Shirley.The title story needs no introduction in fact, this is the one which first led me to Shirley Jackson and The Haunting of Hill House, which so far I ve not been abl Very rarely does one find a short story collection where all stories are above average Kudos to Ms Jackson for producing a collection where all are excellent, and some really outstanding I wonder whether it is possible to fall in love with a lady who passed away when one was scarcely two years old If so, I m in love with Shirley.The title story needs no introduction in fact, this is the one which first led me to Shirley Jackson and The Haunting of Hill House, which so far I ve not been able to read It must be one of the most discussed stories in American literature You can find my review here.However, The Lottery is an exception in this collection none of the other stories are actual shockers, though the suggestion of violence in some of them is really disturbing In The Renegade, various methods to cure a dog of her chicken killing tendencies are discussed, some of them right out of a medieval torturer s manual In The Witch, a casual story told to a boy by a stranger takes an ugly turn Always, the humdrum suddenly metamorphoses into the bizarre never quite letting go of strong undercurrent of black humour.Shirley never lets us forget that behind the mask of civilisation, the caveman is still very much present even though the mask is removed fully only in The Lottery However, it leads to a permanent undercurrent of tension which would be unbearable had it also not been so humorous People are always at loggerheads, arms akimbo, ready to draw and shoot though they never actually do We can see this tension among social situations most palpably in Trial by Combat, Afternoon in Linen, Like Mother Used to Make, Men with Their Big Shoes and The Intoxicated, and also in stories where the antagonism is not so evident In some stories, this results in the total emotional domination of one human being by another, leading to virtual slavery Like Mother Used to Make, Men with Their Big Shoes Perhaps not surprisingly, children in Ms Jackson s fictional universe take it in their stride In Kerala, we have a movement called Pennezhuthu Woman writing It is coined by feminists to indicate the deconstructed language they use to subvert traditional masculine bias in literature I have never been able to understand what they mean by this, but it cannot be denied that talented women bring a certain individual touch to language, themes and narrative Shirley s female protagonists, lost in the labyrinthine city jungles, are a case in point.In Pillar of Salt, New York becomes a virtual trap for a country woman who is reduced to a wreck who cannot cross the street by the end of the tale In Flower Garden, the younger Mrs Winning of Vermont Manor House becomes a prisoner of her own snobbish values In Elizabeth, a lonely woman stuck in a stagnating business dreams of a demon lover in a sunlit garden and waits for him In the The Tooth, a woman in the grip of a bad tooth has a dreamlike bus trip with a mysterious stranger.But it is in The Daemon Lover that this mysterious male, a representation of the female animus perhaps, is taken to its logical extreme view spoiler A woman on the search for her lover who has stood her up on her wedding morning, runs him to earth in an apartment where he is apparently holed up However, all her efforts to smoke him out are vain.She knew there was someone inside the other apartment, because she was sure she could hear low voices and sometimes laughter She came back many times, every day for the first week She came on her way to work, in the mornings in the evenings, on her way to dinner alone, but no matter how often or how firmly she knocked, no one ever came to the door hide spoiler It is not coincidence that all these elusive men are named Jim Harris James Harris is the daemon lover of Scottish ballad, the Devil himself in the guise of a man who comes to seduce a carpenter s wife and ultimately lures her to her death in a burning ship the ballad is quoted as epilogue to this collection However, it seems that Jackson s heroines go to their devils willingly maybe this was a form of liebestod they craved unknowingly all their lives.Very highly recommended

  7. Emily May says:

    Recently, I ve read a number of short stories with the intention of cutting down my huge reading pile and I ve been largely disappointed Particularly by common favourites like Edgar Allan Poe and his many famous horror tales I was surprised to find them rather lacking The Lottery, however, is one of the best short stories I ve read It s very rare that I would give five stars to a short story because I reserve the top rating for meaty, well rounded, often complex and or clever novels, so a fo Recently, I ve read a number of short stories with the intention of cutting down my huge reading pile and I ve been largely disappointed Particularly by common favourites like Edgar Allan Poe and his many famous horror tales I was surprised to find them rather lacking The Lottery, however, is one of the best short stories I ve read It s very rare that I would give five stars to a short story because I reserve the top rating for meaty, well rounded, often complex and or clever novels, so a four star rating means a lot in this case Jackson s tale is undeniably creepy and tells a story that, though seemingly unknown to us, draws parallels with our world and the ridiculous way people are prone to behave at times Her story is pure fiction, it is not about any world from the present or at any time in history but it s meaning is something that applies still today.It all comes down to one simple three syllable word tradition Oh, what silly nonsense has been committed in the name of tradition How often progress has been halted in favour of an outdated practice that remains simply because that s the way it s always been In Jackson s short story, every person in the town where this novel finds its setting is forced to draw a ticket in The Lottery In the end, only one person can be the winner , but this game has a sinister twist Will you see it coming As the story builds up to its climax, we see the town citizens discussing the tradition of The Lottery We are told that other towns nearby have started to ban the practice, that there has even been talk of banning it in this town But everyone brushes this off with distaste how can you ban something that has been going on for so long How will people cope without this routine that they ve come to rely on I found this story fascinating Both simple and clever and, ultimately, very effective.If you d like to read The Lottery for yourself you can find it here

  8. Aubrey says:

    Let us speak of the Lottery.Let us speak of the Lottery in such a way that the conversation here will age badly , because lo and behold another legality will indict those who destroy property and declare innocent those who destroy lives and render this specific commentary out of date Let us speak of a very US centric issue of race and murder and the hallowed halls of police brutality and of Justice founded on the single principle of the Lottery Let us speak of a time where the laws may have b Let us speak of the Lottery.Let us speak of the Lottery in such a way that the conversation here will age badly , because lo and behold another legality will indict those who destroy property and declare innocent those who destroy lives and render this specific commentary out of date Let us speak of a very US centric issue of race and murder and the hallowed halls of police brutality and of Justice founded on the single principle of the Lottery Let us speak of a time where the laws may have beenovert but the mentality was ever the same, the mythos of the infamous 50 s of the United States and how much farther we US citizens have come since then except, of course, last night 6 o clock Pacific Time or hearabouts due to the prosecutor s insistence on spending time blaming the protests, the social media, any and all publicizing of dissent not intimately processed by corporation and incorporated, proved that was not the case.I have full faith in the capabilities of the average US city equipped with a white majority to partake in the human sacrifice of the Lottery Those of you who have read it, notice how the chosen did not run Those of you who have read it, notice how the chosen cooperatively entered the noose of the group s making Those of you who have read it, be aware that it is legal to burn a US flag on US soil, be aware that a white policeman was recently fired for killing the dog of a white family while the murderer of a black man got away scot free, and ultimately be aware that any institution in this country that violates this country s Amendments in order to do its job , especially one that is and was never legally obligated to protect said country s citizens, partakes not in justice, but in terrorism If the first word out of your mouth in reaction to social justice protests is looting , you value a handbagthan the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of your fellow human beings If you complain about feeling left out of the current social justice movement due to your white privilege, keep in mind the US media would value your deaththan the massacre of the US population of black people in its entirety If you cheer at the Hunger Games franchise or any other commodified rebellion composed of white people encouraged to violence in reaction to an unjust government and deified thereon out, then turn around and boo the protesters of Ferguson and their allies worldwide, your values are based on Entertainment, not Truth Should you read this book, you ll find yourself in good company with those Jackson reveals with a turning over of the society stone to the seething sadism beneath.I look at the short stories in this book and I look at the news broadcasts on cable television and I see nothing has changed By rights I, white privilege intact, should not be speaking at all, for I am able to safely feel rage while others must deal with overwhelming terror However, Goodreads is not the greatest when it comes to interweaving the strength of literature with the struggles of life Until someone comes along who isfit to speak of these issues than I will ever be due to reasons of biology and of luck, I will begin the conversation It s the least I can do.P.S The KKK supports Darren Wilson, North Korea is calling the US a graveyard for human rights, and neo lynching is still going strong How s that for progress.P.S.S The only issue I have with Jackson is that she s not Flannery O Connor She did, however, get the groupthink issue down pat, so kudos to her

  9. Edward says:

    I The Intoxicated The Daemon Lover Like Mother Used To Make Trial By Combat The Villager My Life With R H MacyII The Witch The Renegade After You, My Dear Alphonse Charles Afternoon In Linen Flower Garden Dorothy And My Grandmother And The SailorsIII Colloquy Elizabeth A Fine Old Firm The Dummy Seven Types Of Ambiguity Come Dance With Me In IrelandIV Of Course Pillar Of Salt Men With Their Big Shoes The Tooth Got A Letter From Jimmy The LotteryV Epilogue

  10. Char says:

    3.5 stars It s no secret that I love Shirley Jackson I have been known to engage reviewers about what I consider to be less than awesome ratings for The Haunting of Hill House and or We Have Always Lived in the Castle One of the things I m always honest about is books, and despite the fact that this book was written by Shirley, I wasn t crazy about it.I was aware going in that this was not a collection of horror tales, though certainly, some of them are horrific Even so, I didn t find a point 3.5 stars It s no secret that I love Shirley Jackson I have been known to engage reviewers about what I consider to be less than awesome ratings for The Haunting of Hill House and or We Have Always Lived in the Castle One of the things I m always honest about is books, and despite the fact that this book was written by Shirley, I wasn t crazy about it.I was aware going in that this was not a collection of horror tales, though certainly, some of them are horrific Even so, I didn t find a point to a lot of these tales I liken them to someone peeking into the window of a normal American family it s mostly boring One or two of them The Tooth, for sure , were just plain weird However, a few of these tales have serious subjects without seeming to a few of them are outright diatribes on racism without stating the word and without personal commentary The fact that some of these families were so racist and didn t even realize it was commentary enough I also found that a few stories seemed to be about the place of women in society, which was quite different in the 40s as compared to now Lastly, a few of these stories were horror, in my opinion, The Lottery the most well known and the most horrific There is a whole nother thing going on with James Harris, a character that is featured in some of these stories There s some talk in blogging communities about who he is, exactly, and what his presence symbolized I don t pretend to have a complete handle on the whole thing, but it deserves a mention Overall, this was a well written collection, from Shirley Jackson we would expect no less , but I found it to be slightly confusing at times and overall, I was not completely satisfied with this collection