by Shirley Jackson
from the July 27, 2020 issue of The New Yorker
originally published in the June 26, 1948 issue of The New Yorker
Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” was originally published in June 26, 1948 issue of The New Yorker. It sparked an outrage that led to hate mail and cancelled subscriptions. By the time I came around to it in the late 1990s, it was assigned reading in my small town high school. The magazine has published it again as part of their archival issue entitled Voices of American Dissent.
I remember the first time I read this story. As I said above, I was in high school (and it was one of the only works of literature assigned that was by a woman writer). “The Lottery” captivated me. I remember reading as fast as I could to find out just what was going to happen. Since then, I’ve seen the premise played out in one form or another time and time again as dystopian fiction exploded. Still, Jackson may have done it best. I’ve read it a few times since, most recently in a graphic novel form that was published a few years ago.
So what do you think of this classic short story? Is this your first experience with it or with Jackson’s work? I’m curious of your thoughts. For those who have read it before, does it hold up? I look forward to seeing what you all think!