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Personally, no, I would not recommend "The Lottery" as good reading. It is not "good reading" in the sense that it is uplifting, pleasurable, entertaining, or well written (apologies, all). I might recommend it as adequately composed instructional reading to an adult who needs to understand the dehumanizing quality of the practice of following blindly held beliefs and ideas.
I, and my students, love reading The Lottery. Before reading, we talk about tradition, sacrifice, and community. I remove the ending of the story, stopping at: "All right, folks." Mr. Summers said. "Let's finish quickly." I then have the students write an ending to the story. After, I read the true end and, well, lets say all h..ll erupts. Students are typically flabbergasted at the ending, but then I turn the story back to its themes: tradition, sacrifice, and community. At the end, they understand. Our favorite part is reenacting the lottery. We form families, name the families, decide ages, and then draw from THE BOX. I can promise you, this is one of those stories that students remember.
I do recommend "The Lottery" as a fine piece of literature. I have limited time in the classroom, so I only want to teach the works I think are most significant and impactful. This short story is both. It is a jumping-off place for all kinds of discussion points, it has something meaningful to say, and it is memorable. That makes it a strong and admirable piece of writing.
"The Lottery" is a classic story as its theme is timeless. One very pertinent motif that lies in this narrative of Shirley Jackson's is the underlying and inherent pleasure in violence that exists in mankind.
This story is one of the best -- the slow build to what you first assume is a good thing -- being a lottery winner! -- and thenthe impact of that sentence at the end where the first stone hits Tess upside the head!! Then the horror at your sudden realization as what is happening. It makes you immediately go back for a second read as you ask yourself, "how did I miss that?" And then see what a masterful job Jackson does of pacing, plotting, and suggesting, without giving anything away.
I remember when I first read Jackson's "The Lottery." It was in my 10th grade English book. As my class was ponderously reading Julius Caesar aloud, I flipped to the short story. I was thoroughly engrossed, and totally taken in by the surprise ending. All students seem to enjoy this story--whether they are high or low level, whether they are ninth or twelfth graders. Jackson does an excellent job of creating suspense, and the ending provides much food for discussion. Her "Charles" is another winner.
"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson is a wonderfully written story, and it is one that students almost always enjoy. The setting could quite easily take place today. It's not dated, and students appreciate that. They also really enjoy debating the characters and their responses to the situation.
Yes, I would recommend this story especially for someone who is in a situation in which either tradition, costume, peer pressure, or family pressure are making them commit acts that go against their own ideals.
This is a good story in that it realistically exposes the levels of weakness of people when they are unable to take charge of their own destinies and allow others to take the lead.
Imagine being so brainwashed that you relinquish all human responsibility towards others? How do you get yourself away from that situation? Where is the conscience of the people? These are things one has to consider when reading the story, and that is why it is a great read.
Up until the last few paragraphs Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" seems to be a realistic story about quiet and quaint small-town life. Probably on rereading one notices that, despite all the realism, the time and the place are never specified; one may feel he or she is reading about a twentieth-century New England town. On rereading,too, one may pay more attention to the early references to stones, and to the general nervousness, and of course one sees the importance of Tessie Hutchinson’s questioning not of the stoning of herself but in the rules of the contest that they weren't exactly fair, as the conclusion becomes all too real. The story is clever, a carefully tense thriller,but whether it is an allegory—something about the cruelty of humanity, a cruelty that is invisible to us because it is justified by tradition—is a matter that may be debated, for no one questions the shrinking number of townspeople, the only activity is to maintain it. The character names are famously and obviously significant: the ritual is presided over by Mr. Summers, the first man to draw a lot is Mr. Adams, and conservative warnings are uttered by Mr. Warner. The leaders of the attack on Mrs. Hutchinson are Adams (the first sinner) and Graves (the result of sin was death). These are very reasonable conclusions. I recommend it for anyone that has time to read a quick and fantastic short story.
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