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The Lottery

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  62,917 ratings  ·  3,391 reviews
In a small American town, the local residents are abuzz with excitement and nervousness when they wake on the morning of the twenty-seventh of June. Everything has been prepared for the town’s annual tradition—a lottery in which every family must participate, and no one wants to win.

“The Lottery” stands out as one of the most famous short stories in American literary his
Paperback, Tale Blazers, 30 pages
Published 1990 by Perfection Learning (first published June 26th 1948)
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Jessica Morales Yes, I didn't think there was question about it. I am just irritated that there was no purpose for the lottery, I want to know why they did it.…moreYes, I didn't think there was question about it. I am just irritated that there was no purpose for the lottery, I want to know why they did it.(less)

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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  62,917 ratings  ·  3,391 reviews

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Science Imitating Art

Jackson’s story was published in 1948. At the time, and since, it has been praised as insightful and criticised as obscure. But almost 20 years later, the French philosopher, Rene Girard, produced a theory which has a remarkable congruence with its theme and, I think, provides the best explanation of what Jackson was getting at in The Lottery.

Girard argued that our individual desires are never the product of some inner longing but always rather of the imitation of others. We
Muhtasin Oyshik
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

This short story is about a lottery that you don’t want to win! This is a dark tale about an annual ritual-game, Lottery, in which whoever draws the final black-spot-lottery is sacrificed to assure a good harvest the next year. Shocking story and it moves at a quick pace. It shows how intimidating the mob- mentality, and traditions can be.
Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones.

Dark sto
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Lottery, Shirley Jackson

The Lottery is a short story by Shirley Jackson written mere months before its first publication, in the June 26, 1948 issue of The NewYorker. The story describes a fictional small town which observes an annual ritual known as "the lottery". The Lottery details a long-established rite that culminates in murder.

عنوانها: «قرعه کشی»؛ «بخت آزمایی»، «لاتاری»، نویسنده: شرلی جکسون، تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و پنجم ماه جولای سال 2015میلادی

عنوان: قرعه کشی؛ نویسنده: شرلی جکسون،
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: xx2017-completed
This short story is my second classic short story this year and was first published in 1948, yet the story it told is timeless. It is also horrific.

The story begins in a happy, cheerful day late in June (the 27th) which is traditionally the day for the Lottery. This tradition has been going on annually for many years – even the oldest citizen in the town recalls that it had been occurring since before he could remember.

Although some people are talking about other nearby towns that no longer have
Jun 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
Trust me, this is not a lottery you want to win!
Jan 07, 2012 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.

Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Cecily by: Apatt
A short story with a nasty sting, that leaves you questioning human nature. I also note now that this is review #666!

Like Ursula Le Guin’s The Ones Who Walked Away from Omelas (which I reviewed HERE), it opens idyllically:
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. The people of the village began to gather…”, in this case, for the annual public lottery. And like Omelas, there is
I have always wanted to read this classic short story by the great Shirley Jackson. It was originally written in 1948 and contains some disturbing subject matter although subtly done.

I do get, "The Hunger Games" and "The Purge" vibes from it. There's a lot packed into this short story.

You can read it for free at this link and as an added bonus there's an audio to go with it! I thoroughly enjoyed the buildup and anticipation.
Merphy Napier
Mar 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: classics, three-stars
I really don't have much to say about this. I liked that the majority of this little story was so simple and normal - therefore making the end that much more shocking. I does have a lot of impact - like the children picking out the stones at the beginning and then when he says "let's get it over with quick" and they all rush to the stones, that brought the emotion intended in such a simple story.

But at the same time, what I love about classics like this is the discussion that they invoke. And I
Kevin Ansbro
This seemingly innocuous short story wafted into my consciousness with a halcyon, pastoral scene: an English village on a summer's day, suffused with the scent of blossoming flowers and fresh-cut grass. I could almost taste the cucumber sandwiches and the jam scones.
But there is a sub-level to the seemingly twee storyline. An allegory stealthily unfolds that immediately put me in mind of The Lord of the Flies.
Shirley Jackson's fictitious village, like the island in William Golding's book, seems
Elizabeth Sagan
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing

OK, so when I chose to read this story I knew it was going to be 1984 level. I expected something twisted and sick. But I was surprised by how twisted and sick it really was. I’m not going to talk about characters or style, these things don’t matter. Anyone with some talent could have written it (even though I loved how normal it all seemed until the end, it fooled me big time). Nah, it’s only about the the message. And for the message alone it deserves 5 stars!
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What can I possibly even say about this story?


I went on a Twitter deep dive because I am in a reading slump. I decided to Twitter search the reactions to one of the New Yorker's most famous short stories, Cat Person. In so doing I found the story that wagged tongues to that extent before.

The reason for that was because, back in 1948, (and I guess the years bracketing that) The New Yorker published stories without showing whether they were fact or fiction. And my, isn't that an effective way t
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"It isn't fair"

Brilliant. While reading this I wondered if this little short piece of works was the inspiration for the Hunger Games and I see that I am not alone in this thinking as other reviewers have said the same thing as well.

For such a short story she sure packed in the suspense and feeling of dread. The anxiety of having to draw and be the one with the black dot on your paper.

Mar 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2018
A short and suspenseful cautionary tale demonstrating that observing traditions is not always a pleasant and favorable affair. Not as shocking as some modern day literary offerings, but it packs a lot of punch for such a short story.
May 14, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, short-stories
An unsettling short story about mob mentality, senseless violence, and superstition. It doesn't exactly have a message. It's more of a warning, and one that I think can apply to society today. No matter what time, what age, how advanced humans are, we will always be the same - following the crowd and arbitrary superstition, attacking each other to benefit the ones we care about, screaming about how unfair things are without actually wanting to change.

3.5 stars
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
Ahmed  Ejaz
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, short-stories
"People ain’t the way they used to be."
I've seen this short story a lot of times before and don't know why couldn't pick this up. It's full of tension! I haven't read a story having that much tension. There was no specific world and character building but still it managed to keep me interested.

There's a lottery happens on annual basis. And the entire village has to take part in it. And it's a whole different kind of lottery than we see nowadays. That's all I can tell you without spo
Mark Porton
Mar 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I’ve got a thing for Shirley Jackson, it’s all a bit new, a bit exciting, some may say infatuated BUT after reading and really enjoying ‘Life Among the Savages’ and now being enthralled by her short story The Lottery I am really liking this author (yes, new to me) in a big way.

This short story is a mysterious piece which culminates in an ending which was totally unexpected.

The residents of a small country town take part in an annual “Lottery”. This involves a representative from each family draw
Jan 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-story
3.5 Stars
What a quirky and strange short story describing a fictional small town which observes an annual ritual known as "the lottery". Less is certainly more in the case of this short story as its one of those books that certainly makes you think outside the box and packs a punch in its delivery.

I like a little dystopian every now and then and this one I found quite strange and eerie and yet its message in many ways is played out in modern society every day. The power of this story for me
Aug 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Old traditions die hard.
Petra eXpects nothing & so won't be disappointed
Really hackneyed dystopian story that has been written a thousand times. (view spoiler) ...more
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
May 25, 2015 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
Dec 16, 2015 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
James Trevino
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This story made me think of two things.

1. Baby wipes can be used in more situations than I thought **wink wink**. No, but seriously, the ending made me spit my coffee. I love it but it is f**ked up. And wrong. And stupid, but fitting as hell. And I still love it. Shirley Jackson is a genius!

2. That Lady Gaga Judas video. Now, anyone who hasn’t read this will ask the most obvious question: WHY? But I can’t answer without spoiling the entire thing. Well, actually I can, here it is: (view spoiler)
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this story years ago in my literature class. The village scenes​ lulled me. The ending shocked me. I still remember it all these years later. The only other story to remain in my memories so strongly is The Yellow Wallpaper.
Dec 12, 2012 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
Geri Reads
Oct 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 31, 2016 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. ...more
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 tak
My next Halloween read that for years I wanted to get to. A decent read but I wanted more. Why was there even a lottery? I can see where Jackson was going with this one, and I enjoy her stories, but it just left me wishing she elaborated. I believe this one heavily influenced The Hunger Games, which was also influenced by the movie Battle Royale (especially vicious). An OK read, but I much prefer her We Have Always Lived in the Castle. ...more
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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

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“Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones.” 35 likes
“It isn't fair, it isn't right," Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her.” 16 likes
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