Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Lottery

This morning I was listening to a New Yorker podcast of Shirley Jackson's famous story, "The Lottery." What I didn't know was that this story angered many subscribers to the magazine. Many readers cancelled their subscriptions and wrote angry letters.

Funny, I can't imagine a story causing so much excitement today.


Lyle Daggett said...

I actually can imagine a story causing similar reaction these days, though for that to happen the story might need to reach people by some other means than being published in The New Yorker.

Like maybe if the author appeared on Oprah or something, and a whole bunch of people went and read the author's hot new story, and then were shocked, shocked, that the story contained ideas.

I've never read the "The Lottery," but one of my high school English teachers showed us a short film version that was made of the story. (According to Wikipedia, the short film was released in 1969, and I would have seen it in high school in late 1969 or the first half of 1970, shortly after it came out.)

This was during the Vietnam war, and the analogy of the story plot and the military draft of those years was inescapable.

Mike Laplante said...

Shirley Jackson also wrote the novel, The Haunting of Hill House. The first few lines of this book are the creepiest ever written -- even Stephen King has tipped his hat to the opening paragraphs of this book.

會議 said...
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Nin Andrews said...

Oh, I agree with that. For sure!

P.G. Kurz said...

Just yesterday I had a conversation about "The Lottery." After several reads and careful study over several years, I find the malignant power of its horror still affecting. It taps the absolute truth of the potential of our humanity. It is a microcosmic holocaust of brutality and relentless submission. It is what can be, what has been, and what is still at large in our cowardly, unlived, inauthentic lives.