• Written 3 years after WWII and reflects mob mentality of the Holocaust
  • As a child, Shirley Jackson was bullied by other children (even pelted with stones)
  • Thought that she may have been reflecting on prejudiced values within her hometown
  • Being pelted with stones is a direct transfer of events that occurred in her life
  • She created a lottery of who was being sacrificed within the town, and for the purpose of demonstrating that cruelty could happen to anyone.  It also portrays more of a “every man for themselves” mentality
  • The differences in the story provide a greater impact because it could happen to anyone; there is no choice
  • At first, this story shunned and not received well by the public.  However, it eventually became a classic short story
  • Although the lottery shows the sacrifice as being fair and just, the author demonstrates how it is unfair that the entire town gangs up on one person just because she drew a certain piece of paper
  • This story was written in 1948, and was not received well due to it’s brutal nature
  • People couldn’t see past the brutal content, and did not view the story with an open mind to what it was actually portraying
  • There were traditions that the town was not ready to break, and they ganged up on one person in the community- “I remembered it was the 27th and I came a running” – Tessie (p.3)
  • The power relationships reflect the WWII rise of Nazi Movement and the torture of Jewish people
  • There will always be misinterpreted events of the past
  • There is still bullying, war and gangs in the world today that reflect the story
  • The author has learned through her experiences that life is unfair
Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery: Setting & Theme


  • Since the author was bullied as a child, she shows cruelty and unfair actions from the characters in the story.  She also shows the cruelty through pelting rocks, as rocks were pelted at her when she was a child
  • The character, Tessie, shows readers how the author felt as a child
  • The characters are only looking out for themselves, even Tessie’s family in her brutal murder “The children had stones already.  Someone even gave little Davy Hutchinson a few stones” (p.8)
  • The author has bad memories that are portrayed strongly in the story.  Although she has experiences, she demonstrates the towns point of view as well
  • The actions barely affect the community because it is a reoccurring situation for someone to be sacrificed each year.  It shows that it is extremely traumatic for the victim, but does not show any affect on the perpetrators
  • The Nazi Movement and bullies have effected the imbalance in the story
  • The actions made by the community are irrational and demonstrate how all societies have their flaws
  • This piece of work demonstrates psychological motivations of bullies and those bullied in society

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