What is the setting of the story "The Lottery?"

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The setting of Shirley Jackson's short story "The Lottery" takes place in a small, nondescript town located in rural America on the morning of June 27th. Jackson describes the weather on the day of the lottery as being pleasant, clear, and warm, which gives the reader a sense of tranquility and optimism. At approximately ten o'clock, the townspeople begin to gather in the village square and prepare to participate in the annual lottery. Jackson does not specifically give the name or location of the town, which contributes to the story's appeal and underscores the fact that violent, traditional rituals can happen anywhere.

At various moments in the story, Jackson suggests that the town is a farming community by alluding to the harvest and crop yield. The pleasant, nondescript setting is juxtaposed with the shocking, brutal ritual which alarms the unsuspecting audience. Jackson also refrains from giving names of the surrounding towns, which contributes to her critique of American society as a whole.

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mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The setting of "The Lottery" is, according to Shirley Jackson, her village of Bennington, Vermont: 

“I suppose 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.” 
[http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/the-lottery-letters]

Oddly enough, some of the readers of The New Yorker, in which "The Lottery" was first published,  also wanted to know where such lotteries were held so they could visit this area and watch. This fact seems to underscore Jackson's theme of the human propensity for violence as a trait in...

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