Shirley Jackson is one of the most famous and popular female authors of the XX century. She is mostly famous for her uncanny novels such as The Haunting of the Hill House, We Have Always Live in the Castle as well as her short stories such as The Lottery or The Adventures of James Harris.
Her life may be divided into such periods as:
Childhood and life in California
Life in North Bennington
Work for The New Yorker.
Childhood and life in California
She starts wrіting her novels near the Burlingame in California when she is a teenager. After spending her whole childhood in this beautiful city, her family is forced to move to the East of the country where Shirley Jackson attends the University of Rochester as she turns 17 on that moment. But, unfortunately, she spends only a year there, deciding to have some more home practicing in writing. She makes up her mіnd that shе will produce at least one thousand of words every day.
In a year she is enrolled in the Syracuse Univеrsity and this brings her the first success, when her story Janice is published in it. The editor of local humor magazine notice the talent of Shirley Jackson and permit the publication. She also meets her future husband at the poetry competition at her university. Stаnley Edgar Hymn is a promising inspiring literary critic. Together they decide to form a literary magazine and call it Spеctre.
After moving to New York and working on her stories for each day, such giants of publishing as The New Yorker and The New Republic agree to publish some of her stories. Along with the giving birth to their first child, in 1944 the Shirley Jackson`s Come Dance With Me in Ireland gets an honorable award and is proclaimed the Best Short Story of America (Jackson and Oates 49)
Life in North Bennington
A year after that, her husband was prоposed a better job of a teacher at a college in Vermont and all of the family move there. Shirley Jackson combines writing of stories with being a good housewife and mother. During this period her arts move from the short stories to the novels, which results in The New Yorker publishing her most significant novels and short stories. The residence of Shirley Jackson is often a place for partying with the brightest minds of their time, popular writers, critics, publishers, magazines` editors (Bloom 45). The author of the legendary Invisible Man even spent an entire week living with the family of Shirley Jackson as he was a good friend of her husband Stanley Edgar Hymn.
Work for The New Yorker
A few years later, The Lottery is adapted into the TV version as well as the stage version for the first time while Shirley Jackson continues to write such stories as The Bird`s Nest, Life Among the Savages, The Sundial, Witchcraft of Salem Village. Another story that is adapted into the movie two times is The Haunting of the Hill House, a fascinating horror story about the house haunting by the ghosts (Oppenheimer 91).
The 1961 is very successful year for Shirley Jackson as she receives such significant awards as Time Magazine and Alan Poe`s Awards for her novels We Have Always Lived in the Castle and Louisa, Please.
She is also awarded with the local awards of her university, but the horrible disease prevented her from getting it. Unfortunately, Shirley Jackson peacefully died because of a heart attack at the age of 48 in her own bed. Even after her death, Edgar Hymn published two anthologies that include some of her published and unpublished works, her children published Just an Ordinary Day that consist of many unpublished stories which brought Shirley Jackson the glory again.
The Lottery analysis
We can surely suggest that The Lottery is the most popular short story by Shirley Jackson as it has been filmed, staged and translated into many languages. It is also taught in the school, so this means that it has not only the social influence, but an academic one.
The plot of The Lottery tells us about the habitants of the small town who gather around the center of the town in order to take part in the lottery. Usually, the lotteries take more time, but since the town is too small and counts only three hundred of villagers, the lottery is going to take just two or three hours.
Every family is listed beforehand and have a piece of paper with their names in the box. When Mr. Summers checks if everyone is present, only Mr. Dunbar is not here, but Mrs. Dunbar would like to take up his job and draw for him.
Explaining the rules of the lottery, Summers suggests that some of the neighboring villages cancelled their lotteries, but Old Man Warner, the oldest villager, suggests that it is barbaric and everyone can just return back to the living in the caves (Haven).
Anyway, the lottery continues and Bill Hutchinson get the winning paper with the name of his family on it. There are some people that claim the it is not fair, but Tessie is the one who argues the most. After a detailed examination of the papers an interesting detail is revealed. Tessie drew a dot on the piece of paper with her name, so all of the villagers are angry. They take the stones and throw them in Tessie who still believes it is not fair.
As for the deepest analysis of the main characters, we may say that Tessies is not just a tragic underdog of the lottery, she wants to cheat for the sake of her own well-being which results in her being beaten with stones to death. We can hardly call it a tragic incident as all of it could have easily been avoided if she shut her mouth and stop hypocritically “fighting for justice” (Franklin).
So to sum it up, we must say that Shirley Jackson is a very controversial writer that contributes to the world literature with her original supernatural fictions. Apart from the heroes of her novels and short stories, Shirley Jackson lived an ordinary life, spending time with her husband and children and left a big literary legacy for all generations. We admire the talent of such an interesting writer, who managed to turn her characters into a worldwide phenomenon.
Bloom, Harold. Shirley Jackson. Broomall, PA: Chelsea House, 2001. Print.
Franklin, Ruth. "“The Lottery” Letters - The New Yorker". The New Yorker. N.p., 2013. Web. 23 Jan. 2016.
Haven, Cynthia. "Shirley Jackson’S “The Lottery” – It Wasn’T As Easy As She Claimed. | The Book Haven". Bookhaven.stanford.edu. N.p., 2016. Web. 23 Jan. 2016.
Jackson, Shirley, and Joyce Carol Oates. Novels And Stories. New York, N.Y.: Library of America, 2010. Print.
Oppenheimer, Judy. Private Demons. New York: Fawcett Columbine, 1989. Print.