How do you think author's historical and social context has affected the writing of "The Lottery" by Shirley Jacson?connection between the historical and social context of "The Lottery"

1 Answer

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Written in the wake of World War II and the ruthless killings and ethnic cleansing of millions of people, Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" appeared in The New Yorker in 1948. The village created by Jackson parallels her village in Vermont. About these circumstances Jackson wrote,

I hoped by setting a particularly brutal ancient rite in the present and in my own village, to shock the story's readers with a graphic dramatization of the pointless violence and general inhumanity in their own lives.

Like many authors who wrote after World War II, Jackson was disillusioned about the United States and humanity in general.  Her story reflects this disillusionment as well as an underlying hope that by exposing the senseless cruelty of man to his fellow creatures, people might come to a realization of this terrible innate propensity for violence that humans possess.  Sadly, however, she received letters that indicated a lack of understanding of her purpose as well as requests for the names of villages where the lottery is a ritual.