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The Lottery and Shirley Jackson

Uploaded by nukrolat on Sep 18, 2002

Shirley Jackson’s own life has serious effects on her writings, especially on “The Lottery.” Her early life was not a peaceful one. She preferred to stay in her room and write poetry rather than go outside and play with other children.

Her college life was not great either because she dropped out and was put in a mental institute. After she was released from there her married life started. Shirley married in 1940 to Stanley Edgar Hyman, a Jewish intellectual whom encouraged her rebellion. He also encouraged her to become a severe critic who smoked too much, ate too much, and used drugs. In The Lottery, a woman –Ms. Hutchinson- finally attempts to rebel against the seemingly normal stoning when she is chosen to be stoned. This may be connected to Jackson’s rebellion against her parents encouraged by her husband. The woman’s rebellion in The Lottery, ends in her death. This could be related with Jackson’s involvement with drugs, smoking, and food due to her encouraging husband.

After the wedding, Shirley and her husband moved to Vermont. They had four children. In an interview with the editors of Twentieth Century Authors magazine she summarizes her life:

I was born in San Francisco in 1919 and spent most of my early life in California. I was married in 1940 to Stanley Edgar Hyman, critic and numismatist, and we live in Vermont, in a quiet rural community with fine scenery and comfortably far away from city life. Our major exports are books and children, both of which we produce in abundance. The children are Laurence, Joanne, Sarah and Carry: my books include three novels, The Road Through The Wall, Hangsaman, The Bird's Nest, and a collection of short stories, The Lottery. Life Among the Savages is a disrespectful memoir of my children. (1)

What she thinks about Vermont and her life in Vermont could affect her writings. Especially the setting in The Lottery suits this description very well: A quite rural community, far from city life and children.

While living in Vermont, Jackson continued to write. One of her earliest times in Vermont later became material for her first book about the family, Life Among the Savages. Her first novel, The Road Through the Wall, followed in 1948. But it was with the publication of The Lottery in “The New Yorker” in August that year, that she began to gain her reputation. Kyla Ward...

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Uploaded by:   nukrolat

Date:   09/18/2002

Category:   Literature

Length:   5 pages (1,073 words)

Views:   1856

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