A chilling allegory there is value in tradition but beware blind faith.
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 to serve as a microcosm of life.
Her prose is crisp the piece is very well written and view spoiler I didn t anticipate the dystopian style ending hide spoiler El cuento es una aut ntica maravilla, pero eso ya lo saben todos los que lo han le do y nicamente cabe invitar a los dem s a que pasen y lean Pero no es esto lo que ven a a decir aqu El relato lo le en la edici n de Cuentos escogidos que public la editorial min scula En este mismo volumen se recoge una conferencia de la autora acerca de la repercusi n que tuvo la publicaci n del cuento en The New Yorker Una conferencia tan perturbadora como los relatos, en la que, al mismo tiempo que se nos recuerda aquello de lo que tanto nos avis Carlo M Cipolla sobre lo mucho que subestimamos la cantidad de est pidos que hay en toda poca y lugar, tambi n nos se ala los niveles de crueldad latente que padece toda sociedad El cuento parece as extenderse m s all de sus p ginas cediendo al mundo exterior la escritura de los p rrafos finales y dej ndonos as un ep logo m s atroz si cabe que el desenlace del propio relato Y es que no hay nada m s aterrador que saber que estamos rodeados de est pidos crueles.
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 vague foreshadowing of some darker taboo, universally known, but reluctantly accepted What little challenge there is, is quickly quashed The power of crowds, consensus, community, or mob What made this especially unsettling is that unlike Omelas there is no reason given beyond that of tradition The participants don t know or remember And for readers, there are no clues of time past or future or culture is religion or political regime a factor or place We like to think we re good people, who would only do cruel things in extremis, when there is no alternative Jackson s story suggests the threshold may be much lower if the right wrong environment is set up This was published shortly after WW2 Perhaps she was wondering how previously ordinary people came to commit atrocities See also Kafka s short story, In the Penal Colony, which I reviewed HERE Another outsider, like the narrator here, observing strange and disturbing local customs You can read the story here Lottery, Shirley JacksonThe 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 2015 15 1388 1393 17 9786007721056
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 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 about what is happening in the end even though it s too unfortunate it had to come to the you have to live it to understand it situation for her to speak up and defend herself 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 The Lottery, the majority in this village seem to be traditionalists who feel that all kinds of bad things including crop failures would occur if they no longer held it.
This was all very interesting and then one woman starts to speak out strongly against the process when her husband holds the winning ticket From there, each family member draws a new ticket and only one of them has a mark on it.
From bright to dark to darker and darkest.
For me, this story stands out as a caution of what can happen when people blindly follow along with an idea or concept because it has always been done that way It may be called duty or responsibility but it can also be called cowardice and going with the flow because it is the path of least resistance It can also be called ignorance because no one is giving thought to consequences, nor how they would feel if they were the ultimate winner.
This is not an enjoyable read, but for sheer power in the writing and the many thoughts and feelings it evokes, it definitely deserves 5 Stars.