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A short story about a small community gathering for a sinister purpose, perhaps to...

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anzio45 | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted June 2, 2008 at 9:43 PM via web

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A short story about a small community gathering for a sinister purpose, perhaps to select a victim from among their number for human sacrifice?

I'm pretty sure I read the story in an anthology rather than a collection and I may have read it as part of a university unit on American literature, which would put the date around 1967 or 1968, though my dimly remembered impression of the setting of the story puts it around the 1930s or 1940s in the American midwest. That's about the best I can do. Thanks again in anticipation of some success.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 2, 2008 at 9:59 PM (Answer #1)

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I am fairly certain you are looking for "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson.  The community annually stones one of its members to death after having first the heads of families and then individuals from that family select marbles/stones.  Once the lucky lottery winner "wins," everyone picks up the stones he/she has collected in preparation and lets'em rip. 

The story is a very loud comment on the dangers of tradition for tradition's sake and that change isn't always a bad thing.

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