Aug 23, 2008

Short Story Saturday - The Lottery

The first line of Shirley Jackson's short story The Lottery is filled with pleasantness: "The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green." But anyone who has ever read this classic short story knows that it isn't a pleasant one. I, like many people, first read this story in middle school. I am curious to know what makes this appropriate reading for that age level. What do we hope for them to learn by reading this?

The story was first published in The New Yorker in 1948. The New Yorker and Jackson personally received an overwhelming amount of hate mail. Jackson said that in the mail, "People at first were not so much concerned with what the story meant; what they wanted to know was where these lotteries were held, and whether they could go there and watch."

In a small American town, there is a yearly event steeped in a 77 year tradition. This is the lottery in which each family in the town draws out a small piece of paper from a box; one slip with a black spot indicates the family that will participate in a second drawing. Each family member again pulls out a slip of paper. The single family member with the black dot in the second drawing is the winner.

While there is a lot of emphasis put in the story about how this is a very important tradition to the town and the materials used and the things done and said, it is never explicitly stated what the lottery is for.

"They do say," Mr. Adams said to Old Man Warner, who stood next to him, "that over in the north village they're talking of giving up the lottery."

Old Man Warner snorted. "Pack of crazy fools," he said. "Listening to the young folks, nothing's good enough for them. Next thing you know, they'll be wanting to go back to living in caves...."
Why are the townspeople holding the lottery? Why don't they stop?

Jackson uses irony and comedy to suggest an underlying evil, hypocrisy, and weakness of human kind. Her use of friendly language among the villagers adds a very surreal quality to the event as well as the presentation of the lottery as an event similar to square dances. The idyllic way in which Jackson sets the scene and has the characters interact with each other provides The Lottery be another short story I have explored in the dystopic genre.

Over time The Lottery came be accepted into the American cannon but even Jackson's own parents were disappointed in the story originally, "Dad and I did not care at all for your story in The New Yorker," she wrote sternly; "it does seem, dear, that this gloomy kind of story is what all you young people think about these days. Why don't you write something to cheer people up?"

Have you read this story? How has it impacted you?

Aug 21, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - Obsession

So, I was going to give my Thursday Thirteen all this deep thought and literary meaning, but well, I just can't muster it up. Why you ask? Well, I am not really sure to be honest. But here are 13 other things I am obsessing over, rather than making a meaningful and intellectual post. Obsession

1. Should I be worried this reminds me of my ex boyfriend?

2. Laundry
3. Doing laundry in public.
4. Not reading
5. Sitting here instead of going to get the laundry from public.
6. Margaret Atwood audio clips on her writing process.
7. Having to pay to do laundry.
8. Not having enough time to read all the books I want to be reading at the same time, right now!
9. Watchmen
10. Insanity of mother
11. Why can't insane mother go and do laundry in public?
12. I am now very curious about superheros.
13. Are there superheros that do laundry?

Aug 20, 2008

Writing Wednesday - Negotiating with the Dead

From the jacket: What is the role of the Writer? Prophet? High Priest of Art? Court Jester? Or witness to the real world? Looking back on her own childhood and the development of her writing career, Margaret examines the metaphors which writers of fiction and poetry have used to explain - or excuse! - their activities, looking at what costumes they have seen fit to assume, what roles they have chosen to play.

I have seen this book referenced by a lot of other bloggers when talking about books on writing. I know some of you have read it. I am interested to know as well how you personally answer the question of what is the role of he Writer?

Initially Atwood set out to "examine the various self-images...that writers have constructed for themselves over the years" (xvi). Hoping in part to determine the "costumes" that have been worn. As a writer, do you find yourself wearing a costume? What is it and why do you wear it?

Teen Tuesday - Wednesday Edition

First of all, my mother is in town. Second of all, eeeeeeeek!
I have no idea how I am going to make it through the next month.
If you have any sanity to spare, please share!

As is my habit lately, I am reading a lot of different things in a lot of different books. But nothing is really catching my attention. Not in that snatch me up and never let me go until the book is over kind of way.

new moon


The first phase of the moon when it is between the earth and the sun, with its dark side toward the earth. Being so close to the sun in the sky, the new moon itself cannot be seen. It is the darkest time in the lunar cycle.

New Moon
is the second book in Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series. The story continues with Bella's journey and reconnects her with an old friend. Jacob was originally just a device to tell Bella about the "Cold Ones." However, both Meyer and her editor liked Jacob so very much that they decided to give him a much larger role in the later books.

"Jacob was simply a perpetually happy person, and he carried that happiness with him like an aura, sharing it with whoever was near him. Like an earthbound sun, whenever someone was withing his gravitational pull, Jacob warmed them."
Page 145 New Moon

Even though this video is based on the events of Eclipse, which I have not read. I thought it was amazingly well crafted!

Plot:Takes place in Eclipse. Basically, it focuses on the way Jacob feels about Bella.

Isabella Swan - Kristen Stewart
Jacob Black - Steven Strait

Clips:The Covenant,The Messengers,Van Helsing,Bring me to life
Song:Three Days Grace-Never Too Late

Teen Tuesday is the day we set aside for teen book lovers visit with each other to find out what's being read in the world of young adult literature. You can comment whether you are a participant or not. Visit all the posters at
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