The Lottery Discussion Guide:

A Few Conversation Starters

This Book is Banned_ The Lottery Discussion Guide

Use this discussion guide to inspire in-depth thinking, and jump-start a conversation about Shirley Jackson’s iconic short story The Lottery. There’s plenty here to set your mental wheels in motion.

  1. In what way is the story’s title, The Lottery, misleading? Why would Shirley Jackson choose such an ambiguous title?
  2. Why did Shirley Jackson choose an everyday place for the setting, and ordinary people for her characters? How would her story be different if the lottery took place in a church or courtroom, for example? Why would it be different if the “winner” was chosen by a select group of townspeople (like elders, priests, or a jury for that matter)?
  3. Over the course of Jackson’s story we learn a lot about the rules and procedures of the lottery, but nothing about its purpose or how it began. In fact, it’s apparent that the villagers themselves no longer remember. Why do you think Jackson makes a point of telling the reader that those carrying out this ritual don’t really know why they follow this long-held tradition?
  4. The Lottery is a very different story when you read it for the second time. What elements (like Tessie’s insistence that her daughter, Eva, draw with the Hutchinson family rather than with her husband) take on new meaning?
  5. Though she wrote during a pre-feminist era, Jackson has been described as a feminist. What are some feminist themes within The Lottery?
  6. As Mr. and Mrs. Adams point out, “Some places have already quit lotteries,” further stating that “over in the north village they’re talking of giving up the lottery.” Do you think that, at some point, this town will also give up the practice? Why, or why not?

And, be sure to send us your newly-discovered insights
in the Comments section at the bottom of
The Lottery: Who’s The Lucky Scapegoat?

Page Capper copy
This Book is Banned-Sign up for the free newsletter!

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

See what’s new at This Book is Banned.
Plus, get your free Discover Everything a Book
Has to Offer guide.

Get your free newsletter.
And stay up to date
with new arrivals  at
This Book is
It’s free!

A library of “unlocked”
books, tools for enhanced
reading, and essays about the
benefits of the Humanities.
Dig in!

Reading can be a skill, or it can be
an art that develops independent
thinking and judgment.
Here are a few tools
to aid you on that journey.

Sometimes that adage doesn’t
mean what our Google-driven
world thinks it means.
Check out a few
unplugged aphorisms here.

As Mary Poppins taught us,
words can be fun. Remember
Well, that’s just a start.
Click here to have a gander.

You’ll get a heads-up about new posts. And, we’ll keep you up to date on additions to all the other good stuff that lives on This Book is

this book is banned-massive library
Unite Against book banning here