The Lottery
by Shirley Jackson
(Here is a .rtf copy of the story.)
Vocabulary. Copy each of the bold-faced words into your notebook. Guess the definition, and POS based on the context. See the model below.
1) boisterous ( POS ): ____(real defn. goes here)____
2) perfunctory (    ):_______________
  1. The party was so boisterous, the neighbors called the police.
  2. The teacher taught in such a perfunctory way that you could tell he was sick of his job.
  3. You need a lot of paraphernalia for art class.
  4. After he cut his finger, it bled profusely.
  5. After I told my boy he couldn't have candy before dinner, he got very petulant, and refused to eat his pasta.
"In (Nazi) Germany, they first came for the communists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics. I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak up."     --Rev. Martin Niemöller (concentration camp survivor)

Before and During Questions.What is the connotation for you of the word lottery?

  1. Have you ever participated in something with a group that you would never do if you were alone? Why? Why do people in groups act differently than they do alone?
  2. What's the setting? Do you get a feel for the when?
  3. Predict what the winner gets.
  4. What is a scapegoat?
  5. What are people's reactions like when they realize they aren't chosen?
After Questions
  1. What might be the purpose of this Lottery? How do you think it started?
  2. Why do people continue to participate?
  3. Are these people "evil"?
  4. How could the lottery be stopped?
  5. What is the story "about"? What's the author's point about society?
  6. How does the author make a seemingly impossible incident feel so real and inevitable?
  7. Compare this story with "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street." What message do they have in common?
Quiz Questions
  1. (quote) Mrs. Jackson actually foreshadows the ending very early in the story. What is our first clue?
  2. How do they decide in what order to draw for the lottery?
  3. The are actually two rounds to the lottery. Explain.
  4. What is on the slip of paper Tessie Hutchinson draws that signifies she is the "winner"?
  5. (quote) In the last paragraph, there is an especially horrifying line that shows just how deeply the lottery has warped this village. Quote it.
  6. How could the villagers argue that Tessie was wrong when she says at the end, "It isn't fair"?
  7. What ancient cultural practice is similar to the lottery?
  8. (bonus for extra credit +2) Old Man Warner actually says something that shows the original purpose of the lottery. Quote him.