This is the definitive collection of Shirley Jackson's short stories, including 'The Lottery' - one of the most terrifying and iconic stories of the twentieth century, and an influence on writers such as Neil Gaiman and Stephen King. 'Shirley Jackson's stories are among the most terrifying ever written' Donna Tartt In these stories an excellent host finds himself turned out of home by his own guests; a woman spends her wedding day frantically searching for her husband-to-be; and in Shirley Jackson's best-known story, a small farming village comes together for a terrible annual ritual. The creeping unease of lives squandered and the bloody glee of lives lost is chillingly captured in these tales of wasted potential and casual cruelty by a master of the short story. Shirley Jackson's chilling tales have the power to unsettle and terrify unlike any other. She was born in California in 1916. When her short story The Lottery was first published in The New Yorker in 1948, readers were so horrified they sent her hate mail; it has since become one of the greatest American stories of all time. Her first novel, The Road Through the Wall, was published in the same year and was followed by five more: Hangsaman, The Bird's Nest, The Sundial, The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, widely seen as her masterpiece. Shirley Jackson died in her sleep at the age of 48. 'An amazing writer ... if you haven't read any of her short stories ... you have missed out on something marvellous' Neil Gaiman 'Her stories are stunning, timeless - as relevant and terrifying now as when they were first published ... 'The Lottery' is so much an icon in the history of the American short story that one could argue it has moved from the canon of American twentieth-century fiction directly into the American psyche, our collective unconscious' A. M. Homes
Essay from the year 2008 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: A, , course: American Literature, language: English, abstract: Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” was first published in the New Yorker, in 1948 and it aroused a lot of controversy among the newspaper’s readers. Those who read Jackson’s story were totally confused and unable to understand the author’s intentions. In 1948 issue of the San Francisco Chronicle Jackson accounted for her reasons behind writing the story: Explaining just what I had hoped the story to say is very difficult. I suppose, I hoped, by setting a particularly brutal ancient rite in the present and in my own village to shock the story’s readers with a graphic dramatization of the pointless violence and general inhumanity in their own lives. (Jackson in Kosenko 1985: 27) Although the author succeeded in startling the readers, the motives for portraying the American society in such a way were still unclear. Is there any correspondence between the writer’s personal experiences and the image of society she depicts in “The Lottery”? First of all, the village described in the story seems to be similar to a rural area in which Jackson lived when she wrote it. Secondly, the short story villagers’ violence may have its origin in an incident from Shirley Jackson’s life. She created the story after she had been pelted with stones by some school children while she had been going home. What is more, Lynette Carpenter makes the interesting remark that Jackson had a tendency to bestow her own features of character on her heroines.
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Morality. Relativity. Right and Wrong. These are the complicated issues we face today. Everyone has an opinion, but who has the answer? Tony Evans refuses to let the voice of God be drowned out amidst the clamor of the crowd.
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