First published in The New Yorker on June 26,1948, "The Lottery'' is considered one of the most haunting and shocking short stories of modern American fiction and is one of the most frequently anthologized. The story takes place on a June morning in the town square of a small village. Amidst laughter and gossip, families draw slips of paper from a ballot box until housewife Tessie Hutchinson receives a slip with a black mark on it. The villagers then stone her to death as a ritual sacrifice despite her protests about the unfairness of the drawing. The impact of this unexpected ending is intensified by Shirley Jackson's detached narrative style, the civility with which the cruelty is carried out by the villagers, and the serene setting in which the story takes place. After publishing the story, The New Yorker received hundreds of letters and telephone calls from readers expressing disgust, consternation, and curiosity, and Jackson herself received letters concerning ''The Lottery" until the time of her death. Most critics view the story as a modern-day parable or fable which addresses a variety of themes, including the dark side of human nature, the subjugation of women, the danger of ritualized behavior, and the potential for cruelty when the individual submits to the tyranny of the status quo.