#CBR8 Review #136

The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson

When I was in college, I read Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” as part of my twentieth-century literature survey. A good deal of the class was shocked by it. I thought the conceit was *genius.* When I taught a narrative unit in my Comp. I class about three years ago, I decided to include “The Lottery” and pair it with the Reaping scene from The Hunger Games. My students were electrified. They were simultaneously horrified by the concept and curious to see its echoes in contemporary young adult literature (sidenote—this is why, as a teacher, I read young adult literature for professional development. It efficiently achieves what other, more classic works, cannot do for 21st century students: grab their attention). In short: “The Lottery” has been formative for me. I’ve been wanting to read more of Jackson’s work, so I found a copy of a Jackson anthology of short stories, I decided to give it a go.

While “The Lottery” is absolutely the most famous of her work, Jackson includes an array of quality short stories. She specializes in the darkest and saddest corners of human existence, and you will find yourself cringing or shuddering at many turns. Jackson brings the bizarre to life, and makes some of your worst fears or hidden nightmares come alive—and they’re not demonic or fantastical, either. They’re completely realistic or could happen entirely. I highly recommend “The Daemon Lover,” “Flower Garden,” “The Dummy,” and “Pillar of Salt.”

I am looking forward to reading The Sun-Dial and We Have Always Lived in the Castle in 2017. Jackson is an electric writer, and her stories will haunt you. In other words: check out more besides “The Lottery”! I didn’t regret reading more, and if you’re a fan, I don’t think you’ll have any regrets, either.


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