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Allen, Barbara. “A Folkloristic Look at Shirley Jackson’s ‘The Lottery.’” Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin 46, no. 4 (December, 1980): 119-124. Discusses the use of folklore in the story, not as the static incorporation of folkloric items into the plot, but rather as a representation of folkloric performance or behavior.

Carpenter, Lynette. “Domestic Comedy, Black Comedy, and Real Life: Shirley Jackson, Woman Writer.” In Faith of a (Woman) Writer, edited by Alice Kessler-Harris and William McBrien. New York: Greenwood Press, 1988. Discusses the reasons for Jackson’s critical neglect and the need for a reevaluation of her work, especially by feminist critics.

Friedman, Lenemaja. Shirley Jackson. Boston: Twayne, 1975. The best introduction to Jackson’s life and work. Chapter 2, “The Short Stories,” is divided into fifteen subsections, surveying some three dozen of the stories, including most of those in The Lottery, under such headings as “Fantasy,” “Social Evil,” and “Use of Irony.” Friedman’s comments are necessarily fairly brief—a story may be covered in three pages or, more often, in three sentences—but generally insightful. Includes bibliographies of primary and secondary sources, the latter annotated.

Nebeker, Helen E. “‘The Lottery’: Symbolic Tour de Force.” American Literature 46 (1974): 100-107. Analyzes the significance and patterning of the numerous symbols in Jackson’s most famous story. A frequently cited and influential article.

Oppenheimer, Judy. Private Demons: The Life of Shirley Jackson. New York: George Putnam’s Sons, 1988. Neither scholarly nor well written, but still the only full-length biography of Jackson.

Pascal, Richard. “‘Farther Than Samarkand’: The Escape Theme in Shirley Jackson’s ‘The Tooth.’” Studies in Short Fiction 19, no. 2 (Spring, 1982): 133-139. Discusses the conflict Jackson’s characters typically encounter between the ties of their communal group—family, neighborhood, or town—and their impulses toward individual freedom. Pascal focuses on “The Tooth,” but his approach can be profitably applied to many of Jackson’s stories.

Philips, Robert S. “Shirley Jackson: A Checklist.” PBSA 56, no. 1 (1962): 110-113.

Philips, Robert S. “Shirley Jackson: A Chronology and a Supplementary Checklist.” PBSA 60, no. 1 (1966): 203-213. The earlier list is restricted to primary works—Jackson’s published writings, including student work published in college. The second listing updates and continues the first list, provides a chronology of Jackson’s life, and covers secondary sources, including book reviews and biographical and critical writings about Jackson. Despite a few errors in the citations, the most complete bibliography for the period covered.

Welch, Dennis M. “Manipulation in Shirley Jackson’s ‘Seven Types of Ambiguity.’” Studies in Short Fiction 18, no. 1 (Winter, 1981): 27-31. Offers an additional twist to the usual reading of the story, suggesting that Jackson’s use of ambiguity and irony is more subtle than previous critics had claimed.

Whittier, Gayle. “The Lottery’ as Misogynist Parable.” Women’s Studies 18, no. 4 (1991): 353-366. Offers a feminist reading of the story, emphasizing the importance of the point that the eventual scapegoat is a woman.

Media Adaptations

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 93

"The Lottery'' was recorded by Shirley Jackson for Folkway Records in 1963.

The Lottery and Other Stories was recorded by actress Maureen Stapleton for Caedmon in 1976.

A dramatization of "The Lottery" was videotaped by Encyclopedia Britannica Education Corporation in 1969. Also available is a videotaped discussion of the story by James Durbin. Both are available from Britannica Films.

The Lottery was filmed by the Landsburg Company/Picture Entertainment and aired on NBC in September, 1996. The movie was written by Anthony Spinner, directed by Daniel Sackheim, and starred Dan Cortese, Veronica Cartwright, and M. Emmet Walsh.

Bibliography and Further Reading

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Last Updated on June 4, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 265


Brooks, Cleanth, and Robert Penn Warren. "Shirley Jackson, 'The Lottery,'" in Understanding Fiction, Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1959, pp. 72-6.

Cleveland, Carol. "Shirley Jackson," in And Then There Were Nine ... More Women of Mystery ,...

(This entire section contains 265 words.)

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edited by Jane S. Bakerman, Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1985, pp. 199-219.

Heilman, Robert B. "Shirley Jackson, 'The Lottery': Comment," in Modern Short Stories: A Critical Anthology, Harcourt, Brace, 1950, pp. 384-85.

Hyman, Stanley Edgar. "Shirley Jackson. 1919-1965," Saturday Evening Post, no. 25, December 18, 1965, p. 63.

Kosenko, Peter. "A Marxist/Feminist Reading of Shirley Jackson's 'The Lottery,'" New Orleans Review, Vol. 12, no. 1, Spring 1985, pp. 27-32.

Nebeker, Helen E. '"The Lottery': Symbolic Tour de Force," American Literature, Vol. 46, no. 1, March 1974, pp. 100-07.

Further Reading

Allen, Barbara. "A Folkloristic Look at Shirley Jackson's 'The Lottery,'" Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin, Vol. XLVI, no. 4, December 1980, pp. 119-24.

Allen analyzes the elements of folklore and ritual in "The Lottery," contending that Jackson successfully uses them to reveal various kinds of social behavior.

Contemporary Literary Criticism, Vol. 60, Gale Research, 1990, pp. 209-238.

Collection of previously published criticism on Jackson' s works.

Friedman, Lenemaja. Shirley Jackson, Twayne, 1975.

Friedman takes an in-depth look at Jackson's life, stories, and novels, and concludes that Jackson is a unique writer who belongs to no particular school of writing.

Gibson, James M. "An Old Testament Analogue for 'The Lottery,'" Journal of Modern Literature, Vol. 11, no. 1, March 1984, pp. 193-95.

Gibson identifies the similarities between the biblical story of Joshua 7:10-26 and "The Lottery," noting that while the biblical story emphasizes the supernatural triumph of good over evil, Jackson's story reveals a "chillingly impersonal world of gray amorality."


Historical and Social Context