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“The Lottery” Shirley Jackson

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1 “The Lottery” Shirley Jackson
Notes on the story

2 Lottery What discrepancies can you see between the movie and the short story? Did you like the movie or the story better?

3 Shirley Jackson Shirley Hardie Jackson was born December 14, 1916 in San Francisco, CA. Jackson received her BA in English from Syracuse University.   She married Stanley Edgar Hyman, a staff writer and literary critic at the New Yorker in the 1940s.  She and Hyman had 4 children. Jackson's writing career flourished with publications in The New Yorker, Mademoiselle, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Charm, The Yale Review, The New Republic, The Saturday Evening Post, and Reader's Digest. She also published several collections of stories.  Jackson died of heart failure on August 8th, 1965 in Bennington, VT. 

4 Ancient Ritual Sacrifice
In ancient Athens, Greece, Athenians believed that human sacrifice promised fertile crops. Each year in ancient Athens, as one story goes, during the annual festival called Thargelia, citizens would stone to death a man and a woman selected for this purpose.

5 Death was thought to bring prosperity to the community

6 Transfer of Sin By transferring one's sins to persons or animals and then sacrificing them, people believed that their sins would be eliminated, a process that has been termed the "scapegoat" archetype

7 A similar ritual sacrifice occurs with Tessie Hutchinson.
This explains the village member's remark, “Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon.”

8 Can you think of some examples from your life where someone was a scapegoat?

9 Historical Context

10 After World War II, America experienced a trend toward general social conformity.
People tended to imitate those around them rather than follow their own separate paths.

11 Encouraging this conformity was the spread of television, which broadcast the same set of images to Americans scattered throughout the country.

12 Meanwhile, patriotic rhetoric dominated the public mood in politics
Meanwhile, patriotic rhetoric dominated the public mood in politics. Fears about fascist dictatorships and communism, issues that had been highlighted by the war-induced paranoia and suspicion among seemingly peaceful American communities. In the story, the townspeople are swept away by the tide of conformity, and the lottery goes ahead as always. Remember

13 Historical Context Beyond the U.S.

14 What do you know about the Holocaust?

15 By 1943, news of the Nazi concentration camps had finally reached America.

16 A number of Americans responded with horror and concern that communities could have stood by and silently allowed the Holocaust to occur.

17 The world watched the Holocaust happen
The world watched the Holocaust happen. Does “The Lottery” contain a similar situation? The townspeople are unable/unwilling to fully question or prevent the brutal lottery practice.

18 Historical/Sociological Context
During World War II, Jews and other targeted groups were torn from their communities and sent to their death while the world stood by in silence. In “The Lottery,” Tessie is similarly suddenly ostracized from and killed by members of her own community.

19 A few of the townspeople disagree with the ritual, but they merely mutter their displeasure under their breath, afraid to speak out more boldly against the practice. Not only do humans blindly perpetrate evil, the story tells us, but they are also capable of closing their eyes to and even participating in terrors that occur in their midst.

20 Have you heard the saying: “See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil?”
What does it mean? Is it true?

21 After WWII, the world vowed there would never be another Holocaust
After WWII, the world vowed there would never be another Holocaust. They would never let it happen again…


23 Free Write You watched a video on genocide and the inability of humans to enact change. Write about the clip, explaining your reaction. Discuss it with your partner, then we’ll discuss it as a class.

24 “Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone"
Where is this from?

25 Allusion:  a reference in a literary work to a person, place, or thing in history or another work of literature. Please, add to your literary terms notes

26 “The Lottery” certainly alludes to Gospel of St
“The Lottery” certainly alludes to Gospel of St. John, 8:7, in which Jesus frees an adulterous woman, directing the scribe/Pharisee who is without sin to cast the first stone. No one throws stones at her.

27 Unfortunately, no one in “The Lottery” rebukes the powers so forthrightly as Jesus does in John 8:7. Tessie becomes their scapegoat; she pays for their sins.

28 Ritual without meaning
Because there has "always been a lottery,” the villagers feel compelled to continue this horrifying tradition. However, they focus on its gruesome rather than its symbolic nature, for they "still remembered to use stones" even after they have “forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box.”

29 Are humans predisposed to being violent?
Is the story saying that human's predisposition towards violence intersects with society's need for traditions?

30 Wednesday 9/29 Class Overview
“The Lottery” Creative Projects PowerPoint- Finish Traditions & Begin Looking at the Literary Analysis “The Lottery” in the Past & Present Essay Brainstorm Essay Topic Ideas

31 Do societies need traditions?

32 POV: 3rd Person Objective
At the end of "The Lottery," the reader discovers with horror what is about to happen, but the story ends with the casting of the first stones. Jackson prefers to leave the gruesome details to the reader's imagination. The conflict occurs within the reader as the reader notes foreshadowing in the story with growing uneasiness

33 Is there a conflict between men and women in the story?
A conflict between male authority and female resistance is subtly evident throughout “The Lottery.” Do they share authority in the community?

34 Male vs. Female Early in the story, the boys make a great pile of stones in one corner of the square, while the girls stand aside talking amongst themselves, looking over their shoulders at the boys. When Tessie draws the paper with the black mark on it, Tessie does not show it to the crowd; instead her husband Bill forces it from her hand and holds it up.

35 What is a woman’s role? Brainstorm With Your Group

36 Women’s roles Tessie Hutchinson defies the concept of the passive and selfless woman. Tessie's actions are decidedly unlike the behavior expected of the ideal wife and mother in the era. Tessie is hardly self-sacrificing. She even jeopardizes her married daughter by suggesting that she join the Hutchinson family in the final lottery drawing.

37 Women vs. Women At the beginning of the story, the girls stand together watching the boys gather the stones, but as those girls become women, the involvement in marriage and childbearing that the lottery encourages pits them against one another, blinding them to the fact that all power in their community is male.

38 What are some examples of conflict between women?
A most grievous betrayal of another woman occurs when Tessie turns on her married daughter and attempts to jeopardize her safety. Jackson emphasizes women's turning against one another, too, through her pointed depiction of the brutality of Mrs. Delacroix and Mrs. Graves in setting upon Tessie.

39 What is mob mentality?

40 Mob violence The heinous actions exhibited in groups (such as the stoning of Mrs. Hutchinson) do not take place on the individual level, for individually such action would be deemed "murder." On the group level, people classify their heinous act simply as "ritual." When Mrs. Hutchinson arrives at the ceremony late, she chats sociably with Mrs. Delacroix. Nevertheless, after Mrs. Hutchinson falls victim to the lottery selection, Mrs. Delacroix chooses a "stone so large" that she must pick it up with both hands. Whereas, on the individual level, the two women regard each other as friends, on the group level, they betray that relationship, satiating the mob mentality.

41 Exposition

42 How did the setting effect your initial predictions about the story?
It’s summer time in an idyllic village? What were you expecting for an ending? The lottery takes place every year when the nature cycle peaks in midsummer, a time usually associated with cheerfulness.

43 The setting is…

44 Setting is idyllic; readers expect the lottery to be a positive experience

45 Symbolism…

46 Symbolism Black: the color for death, mourning, punishment, penitence in Western civilization. The black box used to draw lots and the slip of paper with a black mark pointing out the 'winner' are mentioned too frequently to be coincidental. Black box: coffin? Evil secret hidden away? Black spot on paper: sin? A “black mark” on one’s record is negative; black mark: unclean?

47 Symbolism Stones are a universal symbol for punishment, burial, and martyrdom: they indicate a morbid ceremony. Chips of wood: now discarded for slips of paper, suggest a preliterate/ancient origin, like the ancient sacrificial rituals for crops. The setting: no specific name/place indicates this is anytown, USA; the contrast of the town with the ritual helps build suspense Square: (village square) may represent the four corners of the earth—earthly opposed to heavenly; human-created as opposed to natural; boxed in; concealed.

48 Symbolism: Names Tessie Hutchinson: Most likely an allusion to Anne Hutchinson ( ), American religious enthusiast who founded the Puritan colony of Rhode Island. She had new theological views which opposed her to other ministers. After a local trial banished her she was tried before the Boston Church and formally excommunicated. Anne and fifteen of her children were subsequently murdered by the Indians in 1643. The parallelism between her story and Tessie's is clear: to her, excommunication meant spiritual death just as to Tessie being cast out from the group = death.

49 Symbolism: Names Tessie Hutchinson:
Anti-ritualAnn Hutchinson held that neither church nor state was needed to connect a believer to his or her God. (In the end, Tessie rejects the lottery ritual, saying “it isn’t right.”) Tessie, diminutive for Theresa, derives from the Greek theizein, meaning “to reap”, or, if the nickname is for Anastasia, it will translate literally “of the resurrection”. (sacrifice for sins; contrast with Delacroix—“of the cross.”)

50 Delacroix (“of-the-Cross”)
Symbolism: Names Delacroix (“of-the-Cross”) vulgarized to Della-croy (no longer truly of the cross) Some critics suggest that Mrs. Delacroix represents the duality of human nature: she is pleasant and friendly on the outside, but underneath she possesses a degree of savagery. Cross has many connotations crossroads (faced with 2 directions); to cross something off; to be angry; to cross over or to pass by; pass from one side of to the other; to oppose, as in crossing one’s path; a burden; combination of 2 elements; To make or put a line across; To betray or deceive, double-cross…

51 Symbolism: Names Summers: the season of summer is associated with youth, strength, growth, prime of life, warmth, leisure, prosperity, happiness, blooming, blossoming Mr Summers is the head of the coal business, which could symbolize close contacts with the underworld, evil; lurking just beneath the surface. Coal is earthly (as opposed to heavenly); black; formed in the process of many years (long-term process); formed from compressed, decaying matter; early chemistry used a black spot to symbolize coal. Marxist critics point out how Mr. Summers, who would have been one of the wealthier citizens, leads the lottery— those with money control the people’s activities.

52 Graves : the obvious grave = place of entombment/death
Symbolism: Names Graves : the obvious grave = place of entombment/death Mr. Graves quietly assists Mr. Summers, with “Graves” hinting at a dark undertone. Grave = serious; hints that the lottery may not be a frivolous contest (“Mr. Graves said gravely”) Critics have said that Jackson creates balance by juxtaposing Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves to share in the responsibilities of the ritual: Life brings death, and death recycles life.

53 Adams : reference to the first man, the first sinner
Symbolism: Names Adams : reference to the first man, the first sinner While he seems to be one of the few who questions the lottery when he mentions that another village is thinking about giving up the ritual, he stands at the front of the crowd when the stoning of Tessie begins. Like the biblical Adam, Adams goes along with the sin; he follows others in their evil.

54 Symbolism: Names Old Man Warner: Resistant to change and representing the old social order, he warns about how important the event is to the survival of the village. Old man Warner is 77 years old the number 7 has many connotations, but one common connotation is that 7 is lucky …he has been lucky to avoid the lottery so many times.

55 Symbolism: Names Martin : associated with Mars, the Roman god of fertility and war. The following are just FYI: St. Martin: Patron of drunkards, to save them from falling into danger. (The origin came from St. Martin’s day coinciding with the feast of Bacchus, god of wine.) St. Martin’s goose. The 11th of November, St. Martin’s Day, was at one time the great goose feast of France. The legend is that St. Martin was annoyed by a goose, which he ordered to be killed and served up for dinner. He died after eating dinner, and a goose has been ever since “sacrificed” to him on the anniversary. St. Martin’s bird is the raven, long associated with death and departed spirits

56 Symbolism: Names Dunbar: breaking this name down into its 2 syllables, one can come up with: 1. dun – to treat cruelly; or a dull, brownish gray color 2. bar - Something that impedes or prevents action or progress; relatively long, straight, rigid piece of solid material used as a barrier, support, or fastener; A standard, expectation, or degree of requirement;

57 Irony When you read the title, what did you think the villagers would be drawing for. How is that ironic? The setting makes the story ironic, but how?

58 Irony Remember: Old Man Warner hears that the North village is going to end the lottery and says, "Next thing you know, they'll be wanting to go back to living in caves.” How is this ironic? The town’s lottery is so barbaric, yet he’s worried about going back to caves?

59 Foreshadowing…

60 The boys gathering stones and forming a pile
The box being black “The villagers kept their distance, leaving a space between themselves and the stool, and when Mr. Summers said, 'Some of you fellows want to give me a hand?' there was a hesitation.”

61 Themes Not all rituals are beneficial, positive or civilized
(almost done…) Not all rituals are beneficial, positive or civilized Acts of violence, hatred, murder are not acceptable just because many people participate Traditions and rituals should be questioned; group mentality can be harmful People are not all good or all evil but a mixture of both. Can you think of any others?

62 allegory: a narrative that serves as an extended metaphor
allegory: a narrative that serves as an extended metaphor. Allegories are written in the form of fables, parables, poems, stories, and almost any other style or genre. The main purpose of an allegory is to tell a story that has characters, a setting, as well as other types of symbols, that have both literal and figurative meanings.

63 What do you think? Is “The Lottery” an example of allegory?

64 “The Lottery”: More than you expected, right…?
End of presentation. (Finally)

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