6 Degrees of Separation The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

I chose this cover because, although she will probably disagree, it reminds me of photos of my Mom as a girl.  Now, on to The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. I have not read anything by this author so here is the summary from Wikipedia. (Do not tell any of my students that I am citing to Wikipedia, please!) This was one of the most difficult titles to work with in all the time I’ve been doing Six Degrees.

The Lottery” is a short story written by Shirley Jackson, first published in the June 25, 1948, issue of The New Yorker. The story describes a fictional small town which observes an annual rite known as “the lottery”, in which a member of the community is selected by chance. The shocking consequence of being selected in the lottery is revealed only at the end. Readers’ initial negative response surprised both Jackson and The New Yorker; subscriptions were canceled, and much hate mail was received throughout the summer of its first publication, while the Union of South Africa banned the story. The story has been dramatized several times and subjected to much sociological and literary analysis, and has been described as one of the most famous short stories in the history of American literature. [Wikipedia]

My Chain


Matched was the first book that came to mind–it gave me a similar “vibe” with others deciding the fate of ordinary people. I’m not a dystopian fan, but I did at least skim this one. Matched by Ally Condie.



The terror in this book is palpable. It also has a dystopian feel in places. “Shocking consequence” of the main characters decision ties it to The Lottery, while the dystopian feel ties it to Matched. Tenuous? Hmmmm.  The Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark.



The odd feel of this book ties it to the previous two books and the “revelation” and its shock value ties it to The Lottery. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage: A Novel by Haruki Murakami



Consequence of decisions made by others ties this one to The Lottery. It is tied to Colorless Tsukuru… by being, in part, a pilgrimage to and in Japan. Midnight in Broad Daylight by Pamela Rotner Sakmoto.



Living under the decisions of others ties it to The Lottery. That it is a family’s story of tragedy and, spiritual pilgrimage, ties it to the previous book. The racial injustice of apartheid means the family has little control over its own future. Cry The Beloved Country by Alan Paton.



The Servants’ Quarters (a book I had to leave unfinished as it was due at the library and I never got back to it),  is set in South Africa and the events of the story likely shocked the neighbors. So, South Africa ties it to Cry the Beloved Country and shocking events tie it to The Lottery as does a lack of control over life.

Why not join us on the first Saturday in November? Next month (November 6, 2021), we’ll start with Sigrid Nunez’s What Are You Going Through. You can read all of the rules here on the blog Books are My Favourite and Best.

19 thoughts on “6 Degrees of Separation The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

  1. I enjoyed your chain full of shocking events and consequences due to the acts of others – uncomfortable reading, but intriguing. I also found The Lottery one of the most difficult of books to work with for the Six Degrees chain.


  2. I was recently packing up my books and came across my copy of Cry The Beloved Country. It was the book I was reading the last time I moved house which was more than 16 years ago! I never did finish it.

    Interesting chain this month.


  3. Oh man, you have to read The Lottery! I remember being so shocked by it in high school; later read it to the girls on a car trip. It’s a one-hour read, max. Chilling. Also thanks for the memory of Cry the Beloved Country! I read it in high school — no memory of the book, but thanks for the flashback to memory lane 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This was a very interesting chain. It must have taken a lot of time to put it together. I can’t remember reading The Lottery and seeing your post and other comments, I am going to try to find a copy.


  5. You did very well linking back to The Lottery for all the books, even though you haven’t read it! Some really hard reads among these. However, I would really, really recommend Shirley Jackson – she is an absolutely brilliant writer, and most of it is very indirect, very slant, just a rising sense of creepiness and menace, and extremely well-chosen language at all times.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. how clever of you to link not just to the previous book but to the starting point. You get extra points for including one of my favourite books from South Africa – Cry The Beloved Country.
    I enjoyed the Murakami but my mind has blanked on the “revelation” – if you get a minute can you DM me via Twitter with the answer….

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m only just catching up with people’s chains this month. I too found The Lottery almost impossible to link to, though I did cobble something together in the end. Well done on getting an unusual chain from such challenging beginnings.

    I’ve already tried and failed to think of anything to link with next month’s book too! I haven’t read it, and it has many excellent reviews, but it just sounds so depressing, which is not something I enjoy at any time, least of all at the moment. I’ll continue to ponder but may just have to skip next month.


  8. Excellent chain Lisa. I had planned to participate this month and even borrowed The Lottery from the library, but didn’t get it read, even if it is still short. Maybe I can still do it, the month isn’t over yet. I really liked how your choices linked back to the original book.


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