Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Shirley Jackson's The Lottery. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
- Full Title: The Lottery
- Where Written: North Bennington, Vermont
- When Published: June 26, 1948
- Literary Period: Modernism
- Genre: Realistic Fiction; Dystopian Literature
- Setting: A rural small town, mid-twentieth century
- Climax: Tessie Hutchinson is stoned to death by her neighbors, which reveals the purpose of the mysterious annual lottery.
- Antagonist: The tradition of the lottery, the human inclination toward violence
- Point of View: Third-person omniscient
Readers’ Responses. When the New Yorker published “The Lottery” in June of 1948, the magazine received hundreds of written responses to the piece, which were characterized, according to Jackson, with “bewilderment, speculation, and old-fashioned abuse.” Many readers went so far as to cancel their subscriptions to the New Yorker due to its publication of the story. The reaction to the story was so dramatic that Jackson issued a statement about it in the San Francisco Chronicle, explaining her purpose in crafting the story as an attempt to “shock the story's readers with a graphic dramatization of the pointless violence and general inhumanity in their own lives.”
Banned in the Union of South Africa. The story was banned in South Africa, a fact which (as Jackson’s husband later reported) pleased Jackson. He wrote that she "was always proud that the Union of South Africa banned ‘The Lottery,’ and she felt that they at least understood the story.”