Reading Response: “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson
1. The Lottery” was published in 1948 in The New Yorker. Based upon the date of publication, what world events was the author possibly reflecting upon when she wrote the story? How might these events be related to the story? (You might have to look up some information in your history book or an encyclopedia. Even Wikpedia is okay for an informal assignment like this. Notice that “events” is plural. Also, try not to be too literal. After all, 1945 was three years prior to the story. Would the war years have anything to do with the dark view Jackson takes of humanity?
2. What is the temporal, physical and cultural setting of the story? What kind of atmosphere or tone does the setting provide for the story?
3. From what point of view is the story told? (You might want to look back at your study sheet on the elements of fiction or review the types of point of view in your text in answering this question. How much involvement with the story does the narrator have? How detached from the events? Does the narrator tell or almost completely show the action of the story?
4. Who is the protagonist of the story? Be sure to explain how you know by naming the conflict (both sides). (Remember that the protagonist is the character offered a choice. Also remember that a group of people can sometimes behave with a single purpose and that, even as they act as one, different grumbling members may represent a conflicted attitude.) How is the conflict resolved?
5. This question is designed to help you think about inferences. In fiction, we know about characters by what the narrator says directly about the character, what other characters say, what the character says and does. Of course, like people in real life, characters often lie, equivocate, or try to hide their real feelings and motivations. When...