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The Lottery

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  37,248 Ratings  ·  1,419 Reviews
Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" is a memorable and terrifying masterpiece, fueled by a tension that creeps up on you slowly without any clear indication of why. This is just a townful of people, after all, choosing their numbers for the annual lottery. What's there to be scared of?
Paperback, 30 pages
Published January 1st 2007 by Perfection Learning (first published June 26th 1948)
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Eve Way to spoil it! lol.

i think the bigger question is of "collective guilt". (since the short story was from 1948, after The Holocaust & it was…more
Way to spoil it! lol.

i think the bigger question is of "collective guilt". (since the short story was from 1948, after The Holocaust & it was examining social coercions in small towns).

Like when we build ghettos in our country, like in Chicago (i live in a suburb of it btw), is the mayor as guilty for the murders as the people who fire the shots? Is the media, supported by the folks in power, as guilty for capitalizing on it, (since news broadcasts are actually entertainment, hence why we don't hear about activism & how we can treat/remedy the murderous lottery of Chiraq). Are advertisers making blood money from slots on these programs?

Also consider how we (& admittedly other global superpowers, like Russia & China) exploit other parts of the world, like an empire, via (cultural) hegemony & outright war, or supporting groups of war.

Also USA is basically an arms dealer, so we stir up conflicts to sell weapons either to other countries or to our own. that's basically why we won world war 1 & 2 (technically the same war, but with a 20 year ceasefire).

Do (USA) citizens have (millions of) other people's blood on their hands because of the actions/inactions of their government?(less)
Udai I think Marylin Manson's "the man that you fear" is the one
the video is exactly like the story

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Lola  Reviewer

I read this for my English class at CEGEP and started a required essay on it. It seriously made me think of The Hunger Games at first, but now I'm more focused on another message: how blindly people in society can follow certain rules/traditions/rituals without questioning them. I love how unprecise the setting is, making us realize that it is something that can happen anywhere and adds a feeling of timelessness to the story. The characters are boring, but I like how Tessie has something to say
Tammy Walton Grant
How do you rate something that keeps you from sleeping?

I know that I thought it was brilliantly done; Jackson set the tone so well. She paints a bright, cheerful picture to start. It's a beautiful sunny day and the whole town is gathering, like for a town picnic. They're drawing for something, you think, I wonder what that is.

It's not until the 5th last paragraph that Jackson pulls the rug out from under your feet - and so quickly that I had to re-read the pivotal line about three times before
Huda Yahya

المراجعة بها حرق للأحداث
يبدو مشهدا عاديا للغاية
فأهل قرية صغيرة قد التفوا في يوم اليانصيب السنوي الذي يبدو شيئا معتادا وجالبا لكثير من الفرحة والتوقعات
ولكن الأمر ليس كما يبدو
ليس كما يبدو على الاطلاق

القرية التي تبدو مسالمة وهادئة بأطفالها ونسائها ورجالها
هي في حقيقتها قرية مسعورة
فهذا الاحتفال السنوي وروتين سحب الأوراق
ليس للسحب على جائزة

إنه وكما نكتشف مع السطور الأخيرة لتقديم أضحية من نوع ما
فهو ليس بطقس ديني
بل الأمر لا يعرف له سببا سوى هذا التعطش الواضح للدماء
وهو يبدو تقليدا راسخ
Aug 26, 2016 Lyn rated it liked it
A classic of stoic, gothic horror yet with a twist that leaves the reader thinking.

Like any great short story, this demonstrates the power of that medium by brutal efficiency. Subtle, but the Lottery also reveals Jackson's talent for characterization.

A chilling allegory: there is value in tradition but beware blind faith.

Petra Eggs
Dec 23, 2015 Petra Eggs rated it liked it
Really hackneyed dystopian story that has been written a thousand times. (view spoiler) ...more
♥~♥Geri ~ the Racy Lit Reader ♥~♥
I should thank my high school lit teacher for making us read this story and scaring the shit out of us back then. I still read this from time to time and I've recommended it to a bunch of friends and it still manages to creep the hell out of me.

And while there had been many other stories with similar premise (sort of) since then, The Lottery still stands as one of the yardstick in this genre. It's only about 30 pages long but the story itself is rich in symbolism, proving that less is more. I h
راجع به ترجمه ی احمد گلشیری، هر چی بگم کم گفتم. نثر بسیار بسیار روون، کاملاً مسلط به زبان، استفاده از کلمات درست. به نظرم یکی از بهترین مترجم های حال حاضره.

اما تمام این ها ربطی به داستان نداشت.
راجع به داستان هر چی بگم، لو میره و تمام زیباییش از بین میره. صفحات داستان خیلی زیاد نیست و فقط ده دوازده صفحه است و در عرض ده دقیقه می تونید بخونید، ولی لذتش، تا مدت ها باقی میمونه. فقط توصیه میکنم قبلش مقدمه ی داستان رو نخونید. همچنین هیچ ریویویی رو نخونید، مطلقا، و حتی کامنت های همین ریویو هم تا حدّی لو
May 25, 2015 Algernon rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015

After reading my first novel by Shirley Jackson ("We Have Always Lived In The Castle"), I came across references to a 'famous' short story that started a major hubbub in the newspaper that first published it. Unfortunately, I also came across spoilers for what the story is about, so it's impact was somewhow lessened.
Thus, I will not review it here, hoping some other reader might still come with a fresh mind to it.

I will only mention it is worth reading, it shows the author's distinctive touch of
Feb 19, 2016 Matthias rated it really liked it
Recommended to Matthias by: Traveller
Shelves: my-reviews
If lotteries are supposed to be so fair, why don't they ever feel that way?

I just re-read this story as it is the first one in the Brave New Worlds collection. I gave it an extra star as a result. Knowing exactly what's going to happen gives reading this an additional dimension of eeriness, so I'd definitely recommend reading and coming back to this one at a later date. Not only because of its major influence on later dystopias, but also because of the way it draws you in. In the course of just
Jul 31, 2016 Brina rated it liked it
Shirley Jackson's classic short story The Lottery is perhaps the basis for The Hunger Games, which is hardly a favorite of mine. Jackson use of prose has me at the edge of my seat and has be eagerly awaiting the ending. The use of language merits a 5 but for me the story is grotesque so the whole story earns a 3. I can see here, however, why Jackson is highly regarded as an author, but her stories are most definitely not my taste.
Aug 08, 2013 Diane rated it it was amazing
I read this short story again recently and was struck, as ever, by Jackson's mastery. It's only about 10 pages long, and every word is perfect. It would make my list of the best short stories ever written.

"The Lottery" opens in a village in late June, and the 300 citizens are assembling in the town square. Each family stands together and the head of the household must draw a piece of paper from a black box. We learn that the lottery has something to do with a good harvest, but the true meaning o
Rachel Reads Ravenously
Sep 09, 2016 Rachel Reads Ravenously rated it really liked it
Recommended to Rachel Reads Ravenously by: ♥~♥Geri ~ the Racy Lit Reader ♥~♥
Well that was a bit of a mindfuck! I asked on Facebook for horror recommendations and Geri rec'd me this one. Geri, I'll be sending you the bill for my new therapy sessions after this! Jkjk.

The Lottery starts out innocently, in fact if I hadn't known it was a horror/spooky story I never would have suspected it would go where it did. Considering this is only a few pages it's one of the best written short stories I've ever read. I have got to read more by this author.

Are you intrigued? I DARE you
Dec 21, 2013 Leonard rated it really liked it
In Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery, though the stoning reminds us of the Old Testament punishment, its original intent has long been forgotten. We view with horror at the barbarity and insanity of the custom, just as we consider the Romans barbaric for entertaining themselves with gladiators. But perhaps a visitor to the U.S. without previous exposure may find American football, shoulders banging into heads and players piling on top of each other, also “barbaric and insane.”

Shirley Jackson
Shirley Jackson

We do no
Hmm. Well.


Shirley Jackson and I have this thing. I want to like her stories, and I get all "Yay! I'm going to just LOVE this one because THIS is the story that people think of when they think of Shirley Jackson!"... except, that's kind of been all of them, and they all have let me down in some way.

This one... well... I think it needed more violence. The climax was just kind of "...andthenthishappenedtheend." It needed more oomph. More, "Holy shit are you kidding me? WTF!"

Oh yes, yes, I
The present day parallels and implications of The Lottery are astounding and thought-provoking when taken the time to truly analyze the symbolisms, motifs, and themes of this searingly chilling short story. Admittedly, the prose does suffer from being a bit on the dull side, and it wasn't until after reading the last page that I began to look at things from hindsight and truly appreciate just how subliminally poignant and meaningfully crafted the words are, and just how brilliant this story is.

Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship}
Available as a free PDF.

"Is that it?" was my first thought upon finishing. The only thing saving this is the thought that it was written in 1948, post-WWII. Wartime involved conscription, a national lottery picking random men to become soldiers and sending them to die. Thinking of The Lottery in light of this, and the complicit conformity and reluctance to abandon tradition, together with the similarity to The Hunger Games, provided enough context for me to appreciate this short story.
Oct 22, 2015 Mario rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon.

This is the second time I've read this story and, again, it scared the crap out of me. Without a doubt, my favorite short story.
Apr 17, 2015 Priyanka rated it it was amazing
Shelves: shorts
Did that just happen? Did I read it right?

This is my eighth (I think?) Review Month review.


I'm not going into this plot much. I'll just say that it concerns a ritual that a village performs every year to bring in good crops.

The ending is shocking.

I'll sum it up with this Bad Luck Brian meme:

Apr 25, 2015 FeReSHte rated it liked it
Shelves: short-story, america
فضا سرد و یکنواخت بود.تا چند خط آخر مشخص نبود خواننده به کجا برده میشه و اتفاق خاصی نمیفتاد. آدم های معمولی یک روستا تو مرکز روستا جمع شدند و خودشون رو برای انجام مراسم قرعه کشی سالانه آماده می کنند قرعه کشی برای چی؟ ما نمی دونیم! حداقل تا رسیدن به چند خط آخر ازش بی خبریم. تا شروع رسمی مراسم کم کم همه میان، ساکنانی که ما چیز زیادی ازشون نمی دونیم جز اسمشون و این که نمونه ی تیپیکال یک روستایی هستن. هیچ کدوم از افراد برامون برجسته نیستند همه شخصیت ها یکدستند و تو یک سطح قرار می گیرند. نمی دونیم آ ...more
I think the story, especially at the time of publication, achieved what it set out to do - of course the idea is a bit passe by now, but at the time it must have been something new, fresh and shocking, if public reaction to it is anything to go by.
Mar 03, 2014 Figgy rated it really liked it
While I can see how this story was radical and terrifying in its time, in the age of "The Hunger Games", it is not quite as shocking as it once was.

The thing that I found most interesting, most chilling, was the way the people kept insisting that they should "get on with it" and "wrap it up". The cold way they said these things suggested that they maybe saw it as an unavoidable thing, and an interruption to their day, but one can't help but wonder if they also needed to partake in their part of
‘The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank, around ten o’clock.’

In a seemingly normal town, everyone gathers together to conduct the annual traditional lottery. What is the lottery exactly? Well, you don’t truly discover the magnitude of its horror until the final passage. A lottery is typically a good thing but in this small town its anything but. Certain things throughout this short story hint at what’s to come: the nervous energy of the pe
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Jan 16, 2014 Shelby *trains flying monkeys* rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2014
The whole crapola on James Frey's book made me interested in this original story. This story is gripping and rings true and makes you want more from the story as you as sitting there wondering what the heck just happened?
It doesn't bother me that Battle Royale and The Hunger Games are essentially based on this story. They are unique enough in their own ways to carry themselves fine. Neither has the feel of being stolen from this book. That new book by Mr. Frey almost the Hunger Games
Nov 21, 2016 Carmine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fortunato chi (non) vincerà.

Cosa contraddistingue la Jackson da altri autori del genere horror?
Semplicemente l'ambiguità del male, lo straniamento che si prova nel momento in cui il lettore si sforza di identificarne la fonte e le motivazioni dietro ad esso.
Siamo tutti portatori di contraddizioni; viviamo di piccole azioni malevoli che ci possano offrire un minimo di benessere psicologico.
La gestione di questo tipo di orrore non è arginabile: è nella nostra natura agire attraverso il male, ed
May 01, 2015 Carol rated it really liked it
Yikes! An eerie short story about a lottery you definitely would not want to win! Reminded me of The Hunger Games.
Oct 14, 2011 Bruce rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣
I found out about this book from Annamaria's book video. She gave no spoilers away, but I thought I knew what The Lottery was going to be about and I wanted to read it.

If you read The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, you, too, know what this book is about, although The Lottery was published a few years before Ursula K. Le Guin's book.


That is one question you do not want this book to give you an answer to.

There is one town where there's an annual lottery and all the people have to take part (
Dec 27, 2014 Victoria rated it it was amazing
My face after reading this:


The Lottery was published in The New Yorker in 1948. This short story is terrifically written, but is completely horrifying. It begins on a light note, but it doesn't take long for the reader to notice the ominous undertone in Jackson's writing. This story brings emphasis to irrationality, mob mentality, and cruelty in human nature. It effectively demonstrates that tradition can't be excused for the sake of being tradition. This is a well written story with a powerfu
Celeste Corrêa
«La lotería en verano, antes de recoger el grano»

Cuando las tradiciones reducen la capacidad de las personas para pensar por sí mismas.

El desenlace de este cuento de Shirley Jackson fue muy impactante para mí.
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The Lottery 3 34 Oct 11, 2015 01:12PM  
Morales 2341 Spri...: "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson 52 68 Feb 27, 2015 08:03PM  
Does its shortness make it powerful? 1 19 Feb 13, 2015 10:17AM  
Dystopia Land: The Lottery by Shirley Jackson 41 64 Jan 17, 2014 05:26AM  
  • The Story of an Hour
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  • An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
  • The Tell-Tale Heart
  • The Monkey's Paw (Oxford Bookworms)
  • The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas
  • The Yellow Wall-Paper
  • A Rose for Emily and Other Stories
  • The Rocking Horse Winner (Travelman Classics)
  • The Scarlet Ibis: The Collection of Wonder
  • Paul's Case
  • The Monkey's Paw
  • The Minister's Black Veil
  • Lamb to the Slaughter and Other Stories
  • Bullet in the Brain
  • The Most Dangerous Game
  • Hills like White Elephants
  • All Summer in a Day
Shirley Jackson was an influential American author. A popular writer in her time, her work has received increasing attention from literary critics in recent years. She has influenced such writers as Stephen King, Nigel Kneale, and Richard Matheson.

She is best known for her dystopian short story, "The Lottery" (1948), which suggests there is a deeply unsettling underside to bucolic, smalltown Ameri
More about Shirley Jackson...

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“Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones.” 19 likes
“Tessie Hutchinson was in the center of a cleared space by now, and she held her hands out desperately as the villagers moved in on her. "It isn't fair," she said. A stone hit her on the side of the head.” 2 likes
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