Shirley Jackson Biography

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Shirley Jackson was born on December 14, 1916 in San Francisco, California. She was the daughter of Leslie Hardie (President of Stecher-Traung Lithograph,Inc.) and Geraldine Bugbee Jackson.

Miss Jackson attended the University of Rochester from 1934 to 1936. She graduated with a BA from Syracuse University in 1940. Shortly after graduating, she married Stanley Edgar Hyman, who was a literary critic and was on the faculty of Bennington college.. They moved to Vermont and had four children together.

Miss Jackson made her first appearance in The New Yorker in 1943 with a casual sketch "After You Dear Alphonse." Then for the next ten years was a contributor of short stories.

Shirley had spent her childhood living on the coast and made it the subject of her first book, "The Road Through The Wall." in 1948.

In 1949 she wrote The Lottery or aka The Adventures of James Harris. This story tells of a ritual in a typical New England town in which local residents choose one among their number to be sacrificed. She became known as master of the gothic horror tale because she wrote of the essentially evil nature of human beings. But according to her husband, Stanley Edgar Hyman, the story also led many critics to misunderstand both the author and her work. He wrote, "her fierce visions of dissociations and madness, of alienation and withdrawal, of cruelty and terror, have been taken to be personal, even neurotic fantasies." "Quite the reverse, they are a sensitive and faithful anatomy of our times, fitting symbols for our distressing world of the concentration camp and the bomb. She was always proud that the Union of South Africa banned The Lottery, and she felt that they at least understood the story."

Reader reaction was so intense. The Lotteyr prompted 450 letters from twenty-five states, two territories and six foreign countries, most expressing outrage at the allegory of man's darkest nature.

In The Lottery, Jackson stated a theme which according to...
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