Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson


For being a short story, I can definitely say that the story had me at the edge of my seat by the time I reached the ending and I believe that is why it received this rating. I wish I could have given it a lower rating because it was extremely short and a simple plot. Plus I have to give props to Shirley Jackson for having a twisted imagination for coming up with this story in an era when this type of story is not a norm.

We entered to this dystopian world that reminds me of a mixture between the Waltons meets the 21st century. It's a relatively small town and in my imagination in the middle of nowhere like District 12 except the villagers wear normal clothes like you and me. Every year these different villages have what is called "The Lottery" which sounds fabulous but if you have read or seen the Hunger Games then you already know that this does not end well.

Mr. Summer is the host of this ritual and with the help of the Post Office, they list every name of the citizens in the village and puts these tiny sheets of paper into a black box. Then as their names are called out each one goes and picks a piece of paper. Once everyone has been called out then they look and see if they are picked for this lottery. Will they win a family trip to Hawaii or will one of them have to die? You decide...

I couldn't help myself when it comes to reading this story that this could possibly be the prototype for the Hunger Games. I kept getting District 12 stuck in my head for these 12 pages and I wished Katniss could have popped out and try to save the day but unfortunately she was unavailable as she was playing F@ck, Marry, and Kill with Rue (It is too soon?). Katniss options are Peeta, Snow, or Haymitch.

It's crazy to imagine that Shirley Jackson published this story with The New Yorker in 1948 and the readers opinions thought this story was awful and sparked controversy. I can imagine especially at that time because it if was published now it wouldn't get an ounce of scrutiny as it did in 1948. It's interesting what a convoluted mind Shirley Jackson has and was willing to take risk with her writing. I wish the story could have been longer or quite possibility be converted into an dystopian novel. If it had been longer I would have possibility given it a perfect score or if it had more plot instead of that prompt simple ending.

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