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Shirley Jackson's short story "The Lottery" was first published in 1948, and it is generally considered a "modern day parable," though the events could be set a century or more before. It takes place on a summer morning on June 27th in a small village somewhere in the United States. The mood begins on a happy note, but the ensuing events turn much more ominous. It is the day of the town's annual lottery, and every member's name has been put into a box. The winner, and one of the main characters, turns out to be Tessie Hutchinson, though her selection turns out to be anything but lucky.
The setting of the story is a small farming town in the American Midwest, most likely in the Corn Belt. What is unusual about the setting is that the town is so isolated from the rest of the world that the people can commit an atrocious murder every year without even having to worry about getting into trouble with the law. They believe that lotteries such as theirs are conducted in other towns in the region, and they have also heard rumors that some of the towns have been abandoning the lotteries and the stoning; but nobody seems to have any factual knowledge even about neighboring towns. This isolation gives the setting an especially creepy, uncanny feeling. The reader feels that it would be a dangerous place to visit and that these people are all a little crazy. Time has passed them by and they don't know it.
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