THE LOTTERY SHORT STORY REVIEW – Love it or hate it, Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery is indelibly etched on the American subconscious. It’s on every high school and college reading list. When it first appeared in The New Yorker in June of 1948, the magazine received an onslaught of complaint letters and subscription cancellations. The reactions were widely varied, from mild confusion to strong dislike. Since then the story has won just about every major award, has been adapted into multiple formats (radio, television, film and theater) and is oft cited as one of the best horror short stories ever written. The author was frequently questioned about its meaning. Her husband, a literary critic in his own right, stated the following. “She consistently refused to be interviewed, to explain or promote her work in any fashion, or to take public stands.” She is also the author of the much lauded novel, The Haunting of Hill House.



  1. With a master's in literature, I'm glad to say I'm actually qualified to agree whole-heartedly. Shirley Jackson's The Lottery is one of the finest short stories ever written. Nothing is more chilling than that horrific twist ending! Thanks, Chad! You've inspired me to take out my copy and give it another read!

  2. Hi Chad, thanks so much for the fantastic trip down memory lane. When I first started my study of horror fiction, The Haunting of Hill House was on the top of my “to read” list. Until that time I hadn't realized that Shirley Jackson had written both stories. I need to go back and reread “The Lottery,” such an amazing and groundbreaking tale. One that, like you stated above, has been “etched within [my] psyche” since Junior High.

  3. I remember reading The Lottery in high school, but I don't remember much about it so it must not have made much an impression on me.

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