Friday, June 26, 2009

The Lottery

On June 26, 1948, the New Yorker magazine published a short story by a 28 year-old Vermont housewife. The Lottery is set in an ordinary New England village, much like the one Shirley Jackson lived in. The story is about a town ritual. It unfolds much like the Fourth of July, with the attendant excitement and gossip and speculation, and the town fathers giving speeches, culminating in a drawing of names. Many who read the story in the New Yorker expected the heroine to win a washer-dryer, and were upset by how the story turned out, and angry with Jackson for having the nerve to write it.

Shirley Jackson appears only once in A Book of Ages. Another anecdote was left out with some regret; it involved Jackson using a voodoo doll to break Alfred A. Knopf's leg while he was vacationing at Stowe.

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