70 Years of Shirley Jackson’s 'The Lottery'

(Panel)


American/Diaspora / Pedagogy & Professional

Randy Laist (Goodwin College)

Cynthia McHale-Hendricks (Goodwin College)

In June of 1948, Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” appeared in The New Yorker. Jackson’s story juxtaposed a nostalgic depiction of rural America with a jarringly brutal ending, causing outraged readers to cancel their New Yorker subscriptions and to deluge Jackson with hate mail. In the 70 years since then, Jackson’s story has become a staple of short story anthologies and American literature curricula, as well as having been adapted into a radio play, two television movies, a popular educational film, an opera, a ballet, a one-act play, and an episode of South Park. The diversity of these adaptations suggests the shape-shifting, multi-faceted nature of Jackson’s story, as well as its ability to convey new meanings to successive generations of readers.

This panel seeks to examine the enduring appeal and relevance of Jackson’s enigmatic parable. Proposed papers may consider the story in either its original historical context in the wake of World War II, or its impact on readers who encounter it for the first time against a contemporary background of high-tech surveillance, hyper-partisan tensions, and various forms of fanaticism and fundamentalism that influence the cultural dynamics of our global village in the twenty-first century. Textual analyses of the story’s literary elements are also welcomed, along with any other scholarship devoted to enriching our understanding of “The Lottery.”

This panel seeks to examine the enduring appeal and relevance of Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery.” Proposed papers may consider the story in either its original historical context in the wake of World War II, or its impact on readers who encounter it for the first time against a contemporary background of high-tech surveillance, hyper-partisan tensions, and various forms of fanaticism and fundamentalism that influence the cultural dynamics of our global village in the twenty-first century. Textual analyses of the story’s literary elements are also welcomed, along with any other scholarship devoted to enriching our understanding of “The Lottery.”