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Please read THOROUGHLY. Write in response to the following prompts about setting and theme in “The Lottery” and “A & P.” 1. Shirley Jackson lived in a small village called North Bennington in rural Vermont: “I supposed I hoped,” she wrote in response to a reader who was stumped by the story, “by setting a particularly brutal ancient rite in the present and in my own village, to shock the story’s readers with a graphic dramatization of the pointless violence and general inhumanity in their own lives” (Franklin 4). What details in her description of the setting covey the typical, ordinary quality of life in the village? Is Sammy’s village in “A & P” similarly ordinary? How does Sammy feel about living in his little Massachusetts town? 2. Summarize, step-by-step, how the lottery is conducted. Why might the villagers choose to participate in such a brutal ritual every year? Does the story offer any hints? One reader trying to understand or interpret the story’s meaning suggested that it might be about how “the forces of belligerence, persecution, and vindictiveness are, in mankind, endless and traditional” (Franklin 4). What sort of themes or messages do you find lurking in the story? In your mind, what does it seem to be about? 3. Sammy quits because he wants to impress Queenie and her friends. But are there other reasons? How do his descriptions of his place of work, its customers, his fellow employees offer insight into other motives for why he chooses to quit. Is he in his word a “hero”? Is his mockery, for example, of the herd-like conformity of the shoppers rude or refreshing and maybe even brave–expecially after reading a story like “The Lottery”?


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