With the Hunger Games hype that engulfed us last week, it was hard to avoid all the discussion of similar works that existed. Of the many titles that I came across, two stood out particularly - a short story called The Lottery and a Japanese novel (and movie) called Battle Royale (which I'm reading right now and just cannot put down). The novel will be fodder for another post, so for now, I just want to rave about the awesomeness that was The Lottery.
Can I begin by saying just how much this story blew my mind? I had heard that it was awesome, and that when it was first published, there was such strong reaction to it - many of them negative of course. On a side note, it's fascinating how people then ridiculed the story and sent the author a lot of hate mail (stuff like this happens now too) but our first reaction is varying degrees of acceptance.
Anyways, like I said, I was totally blown away, even though I knew there was something evil going to happen in the story (which isn't revealed until the very end). But more than that, I loved how multidimensional the story is. The author leaves a lot of hints through the story, so that when I reached the end, I couldn't say that it sprung up on me. The evidence was there all along, but the kind of evidence you don't think twice about, but later makes you go - oh my god, how did I miss that?
But mostly, I loved the people characterizations. The beginning of the story almost gives the impression that this is a million dollar lottery. People were somewhat excited. But there was also an air of restraint - an indication that there is something wrong with this happy American picture - as if people wanted to be there and not be there as well. A few men talk about how the lottery is being canceled in a few towns, and the oldest man in this village scoffs at that, saying it's the young people to blame for that, and that the lottery is the best thing that ever happened. But when the lottery winner is revealed, the winner alone cries how unfair it is despite how participating that person was earlier.
And despite how much I sat expecting something crazy to happen, I was still shocked at the ending.
The short of it: Super short story - you guys just have to read it. And let me know if you didn't like it.
I read this story online on the Classic Short Stories.