The Lottery is arguably one of the most famous and influential short stories in the history of American literature, setting the framework for a number of films, novels, and television series to come.
Shirley Jackson’s story, which was originally published by The New Yorker in 1948, tackles themes of judgement and mob mentality. The tale revolves around a fictional town in which an annual ritual results in the murder of one resident. The Lottery considers whether or not it can be good to stone one person to death for the benefit of the majority, given that it releases tension and rids the many of their wicked thoughts. In doing so, it asks the reader to question their own sense of morality.
Author Shirley Jackson
The story was initially very controversial, prompting readers to write letters of complaint to The New Yorker and even cancel their subscriptions to the service. However, you can see the influence that it had on the zeitgeist when considering that movies like The First Purge study the same thought experiment today, albeit on a grander scale.
With this in mind, the news that one of Jackson’s most important works is finally going to appear on the big screen is cause for excitement. The short story is set to be adapted by The Hitcher’s Jake Wade Wall, with Laurence Hyman (Jackson’s son) on board as an executive producer.
A director for the film is yet to be announced, but assuming that a safe pair of hands takes the helm, The Lottery is something to look forward to in the near future.