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Shirley Jackson's The Lottery Activities

Instructor: Jaclyn Scotto

Jaclyn is a high school English teacher and college professor. She has a doctorate in Education.

'The Lottery' by Shirley Jackson is a short story with many interesting themes. Because of this, there are a myriad of activities you can use in your classroom when you teach this story in your class. Read on for activity ideas for 'The Lottery.'

Writing Activities

'The Lottery' gives students lots to think about in regards to themes like conformity, rule-following, and tradition. Having students write about these topics can also make for great class discussions. Here are some writing activity ideas.

Journal Topic

Encourage students to engage in some honest reflection. Would you engage in the lottery because it is a town tradition? Why? Or if not, how would you go against it?

You could also use this writing topic as a jumping off point for discussing the dangers of the blind following of tradition.

Essay Topic

The black box is an important symbol in the story. How is the box described? Why is it so important to the town and the lottery process? What theme(s) does the box represent?

For more advanced students, ask them to use quotes/citations from the story to support their claims.

Creative Topic

Pretend you are Tessie Hutchinson, and write a diary entry explaining your feelings about the lottery system. Be sure to focus on the fairness aspect.

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