The Lottery Guiding Questions
“The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson
Read the short story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson. Then, reread the lines indicated with each question below. Answer each question, citing text evidence.
1. Lines 1–10: Based on the first paragraph, explain what you can infer about the village and its people.
The village seems to be very
2. Lines 1–18: Explain the tone in these lines.
3. Lines 38–40: Why might the author have chosen to write this sentence in passive voice?
4. Lines 40–53: Describe Mr. Summers based on his responsibilities and the way that others react to him.
5. Lines 59–79: Explain the tone, or attitude, expressed in these lines.
6. Lines 59–67: What might the box symbolize? What evidence supports your answer? Suggest an unspoken message that Jackson wants to convey to the reader about the lottery.
7. Lines 85–104: Explain the pacing in this section and its overall effect on the story.
8. Lines 100–104: Explain what it means to talk interminably.
9. Lines 105–115: What examples of colloquialisms are in these lines? What do they tell the reader about the characters in the story?
10. Lines 159–168: Describe the tone in this passage. Which words led you to that conclusion?
11. Lines 191–204: What text evidence shows how Old Man Warner feels about the lottery?
12. Lines 219–225: Which words or phrases change the story’s pacing?
13. Lines 228–243: Describe Mrs. Hutchinson’s behavior and the reaction from the other villagers. Compare your observations with your earlier perceptions of the characters.
14. Lines 237–242: Examine the discussion of households and families in these lines. Explain what Mr. Summers means when he distinguishes between family and household. Why does Jackson include this information?
15. Lines 237–287: What are examples where Jackson doesn’t explain the action or what characters say and do?
16. Lines 285–306: Describe the pacing on this page and how it affects the mood.
17. Lines 300–306: What words in these lines have connotations that affect how the reader sees or understands an element of the story?
18. Lines 310–321: Explain what expectation the reader might have had about the lottery at the beginning of the story. What part of the story changed that expectation? Which lines in the story confirm suspicions that winning the lottery is not good?