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Socratic Seminar #1 - The Lottery

Book Talk

La Indeseable

on 17 September 2012

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Transcript of Socratic Seminar #1 - The Lottery

The Lottery
by: Shirley Jackson What is a "lottery"? how does the title lead you to expect something very different from what the story presents?

What is a scapegoat? Who is
the scapegoat in this story? What other examples of scapegoating can you recall?

What is the significance of the fact that the original box has been lost and many parts of the ritual have been forgotten? Can you find statement in the story that most likely explains the original purpose of the ritual? answer the 3 questions here. Socratic Seminar #1
Book Talk
~Desrea Elcock & Adia Guthrie Fin. 1) lot·ter·y/ˈlätərē/


A means of raising money by selling numbered tickets and giving prizes to the holders of numbers drawn at random.

A process or thing whose success or outcome is governed by chance.

The title "the lottery" is ironic because it causes the reader to first assume that someone would be winning a prize of some sort; because of this the reader initially confused at the air of uneasiness. In today's society the word "lottery" is often associated with money or making ones life better than it was previously, Jackson makes this ironic because not only is the villager's life not made better it is taken all together.

2) A scapegoat is usually a person who takes the blame for something that is not necessarily their fault (usually the mistakes of other people); in this case a scapegoat is simply the person to be singled out for irrational hostility. Mrs. Hutchinson takes the role of the scapegoat in this short story,in which she is stoned for no reason other than that it id traditional to stone someone yearly. Other examples of scapegoating may be seen in Bottom from "A Midsummer Night's Dream",the Hazaras from "The Kiterunner", and the Jewish peoples in the Holocaust. Bottom was unfairly punished in a Midsummer Night's Dream and given the head of an ass because of the fairy queen's misplaaced anger, The Hazaras in Kiterunner were often blamed for and persecuted because of Afganistan's political/cultural problems, and the Jews were blamed and persecuted for Germany's hardships after WWI.

3) The black box itself is significant because it represents the tradition of the lottery; the fact that the original box has been lost represents how the true purpose and understanding of the ritual of the lottery has also been lost in the years since the lottery was first proposed to the villagers. Te original meaning f the lottery may be inferred from when Mr. Warner states that there used to be a saying "Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon" meaning that the harvest would be coming in soo, This leads us to believe that the lottery is a sarifice for a bountiful harvest.
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