Why do we keep reading "The Lottery"?

That story is messed. Up. And the Onion acknowledges it, in an article entitled, "Watching Faces Of Students As They Finish 'The Lottery' Highlight Of English Teacher's Year."
"Oh, my God, the looks on their faces when they realize the villagers are actually going to stone Mrs. Hutchinson to death right then and there!" said Hamlin, who added that she never allows students to read the story as a take-home assignment. "I'm almost too excited to sleep. Oh, it's so great! They're never gonna see it coming!"
My confusion about this article comes from the fact that it is, in fact, in the Onion. Isn't this what being an English teacher, nay, any teacher, is all about? Watching the faces of children as you crush their sense of what is right?


( Also thank you to the Rejectionist for emailing me yet another faboosh link, for which she has earned one waffle cookie, redeemable at her earliest convenience. Wouldn't you ALL like waffle cookies, reader types? Send links!)


  1. I loved teaching "The Lottery". What better Group Think/we'll-stand-by-old-traditions-to-the-death story exists other than this one?

  2. And I loved reading that story as a student! I liked it for the human psychology of it... not the Group Think (Orwell's 1984 was better for that), but the individual: the fact that Mrs. Hutchinson did not object to the proceedings until it was HER family.

    And how about the fact that, if things had gone differently, they might have stoned little Davy, a kid so young that he needed help drawing his own ticket? That is some darkness right there.

    Hmmm, maybe this story is why I like Stephen King's Storm of the Century so much...

  3. Carrie, I'll give 1894 to you: 2+2=5. That's terrifying (and a cage of rats on your head is never fun).

    It's interesting to remember The Lottery was banned in South Africa years ago. Message? Don't tell us our ways are backward. Don't make us look at ourselves.

  4. Gambling is the worst addiction. In the past one year my husband has been buying lottery tickets incessantly, lying to me, and staying out the entire night. He has got us into so much of debt that we had to sell our car. I usually find him glued to mega millions and play lotto.