Read the lottery (1948) by Shirley Jackson and answer the questions below.
1. Were you shocked by the ending of the story? If not, give specific points from the text that foreshadowed the ending.
2. In what ways does the author use characterization to make readers relate personally to the main characters in the story? Why do you think Jackson has chosen to use common people for her characters? Would this story have been different if characters of a higher level of sophistication had been used? Explain your answers.
3. In considering setting, where is this story located? In what ways does the setting (remember, this can include time and place) impact the story? Would this story have ″worked″ if it had been set, for example, in a large city? Explain your answers.
4. What seems to have been the original purpose of the lottery? What do the people believe about the lottery? Why have some of the other villages given up the practice – and why hasn′t this one? Why do you suppose we are reluctant to give up traditions? Explain your answers.
5. Do you think that it is important that the original paraphernalia for the lottery has been lost over the years? Since that has been lost, we have to assume the ceremony is also different. What do you think the original ceremony was like – do you suppose it was much different from the ceremony witnessed in this story?
6. Do you feel that the lottery is a collective act of murder? Is it morally justified? Is tradition sufficient justification for such actions? Do you think the crowd would have carried out the lottery if Davy had ″won″ and was chosen? Explain.
7. Does this story remind you of any books or film(s) you may have read or seen in the past few years that used a ″lottery″ form of social control? Which books or films? How are they alike and different from ″The Lottery?″ What was the ″tradition″ followed in that film? Explain.