In Shirley Jackson's short story "The Lottery," on which day does the lottery fall each year?

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In Shirley Jackson's short story "The Lottery," the lottery takes place each year after school has been let out for the summer. The omniscient narrator tells the reader that the lottery takes place on June 27. It is noted that in other towns that are much larger, it must be started the day before so as to end on the 27th.

The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green.

This kind of description sets the mood based upon a pleasant and beautiful day, when life abounds in the descriptions of nature. The story's themes are in dark contrast to the description of this lovely scene. 

[T]he story takes place on June 27, near the summer solstice, one of the two days in a year when the earth is farthest from the sun. 

Upon closer reading, tying the date to the summer solstice may engender a sense of an uncivilized yearly ritual; we might also imagine that being so far from the sun, it would be a time associated with death. The sun is the source of life on our planet. Being so distanced from the sun might infer that the world is colder towards its inhabitants—paradoxically, rather than being drawn closer to this source of life, we are distanced from it and all the life-giving properties associated with it.

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