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Why did Shirley Jackson write "The Lottery"?

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joshyhulk | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 22, 2011 at 1:51 PM via web

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Why did Shirley Jackson write "The Lottery"?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 24, 2011 at 5:33 AM (Answer #1)

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One could come up with a multitude of reasons as to why Jackson wrote the short story "The Lottery."

Given that her stories typically provided a foil to her life, Jackson seemed to be flirting with ideas she could only dream about and invent. Shirley's life was one filled with content and without conflict.

Therefore, in her flirting with the alternative, Jackson created stories which illustrated life as something which held constant neuroses, the alienated, and the exiled.

Her story, "The Lottery", depicts the old ways of a small rural farming town. The town holds a yearly lottery so as to "find" a person to sacrifice for the crops.

Here, Jackson flirts with the idea of human sacrifice for the betterment of society. There are two reasons as to why she may have constructed the story.

First, the story could simply be depicting a period in time where sacrifice was considered accepted. People simply followed the traditions of their culture simply because it had worked in the past.

Second, Jackson could be examining the fact that many times people are willing to blindly follow anything for any reason. This shows the characters to be mules-they simply do what society tells them to without question.

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isitcrazy1 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 5, 2011 at 12:47 PM (Answer #2)

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She wrote it to bring up the oppression of women.  In the story it constintly points out that women are inferior.  The boys gather the stones, the boys draw the cards, and the women stand around and chat.  She wanted the situation to stop.  When tessie said "this is wrong", that was shirley acting out.

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