Shirley Jackson, “The Lottery”

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Name____________________________________Period_______ 19-___

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“The Lottery” Post-reading Questions

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1. What was your initial reaction to the story? Please explain exactly why you felt this way?

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2. The story begins with a mood that is very different than the mood at the end of the story? How are the two moods different and what specific words does Jackson use to show this?

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3. In the second paragraph of the story the children are gathering stones, seemingly just for fun. At the end of the story, we learn exactly why they were gathering the stones. This is an example of what literary technique?

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4. What can we learn or guess about the culture of this village by knowing that the lottery was conducted in the same manner as “the square dances, the teen club and the Halloween program?”

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5. The actual lottery occurs on page 4 of the story. The tone of this section is one of anxiety. What specific words does Jackson use to show this feeling of concern and worry?

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6. On the bottom of page 3, Mr. Adams states that in a neighboring village they don’t even have a lottery. Old Man Warner responds that those villagers are “a pack of crazy fools.” Why is this ironic? (Ironic means “the humorous or mildly sarcastic use of words. To suggest the opposite of what the words actually mean.”

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7. Why do you think the village has a lottery? Is the lottery a good or a bad tradition? Support your answer!

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8. Explain whether or not you feel it was right for the kids in the village to have to participate in the lottery.

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9. Even though the story is focused on a very violent event, there is very little description of the violence. Do you think the story would have been MORE or LESS effective in catching readers’ attention had the violence been described in a more graphic manner?

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10. In the story, the lottery is an overall relaxed and natural event. How do you think you would feel if you had been involved? Remember, it was 1948.

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