“THE LOTTERY” & The Hunger Games

Naturally, the author had to have been familiar with THE LOTTERY. It has been required reading in American schools for decades–although too few people in small towns and in national athletics competitions take time to see the similarities in their lives.–kas

“The Lottery”-Shirley Jackson

from: http://grahnaplit.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-lottery-shirley-jackson.html


      I think it’s obvious that Suzanne Collins, author ofThe Hunger Games, took a few notes from Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery.  If not, the similarities are uncanny.  Both have an annual event that ends in the unjust persecution of innocent man or woman.  The entire town (district) attends this event praying they are not pulled from the “black box”/”reaping bowl”.  However similar, these two stories have one major difference.  While the Hunger Games are a punishment, the lottery is a result of tradition.
  “Mr. Summers spoke frequently to the villagers about making a new box, but no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box” (Jackson, 265).   

    The stoning of Mrs. Hutchinson is a direct result of the pointless tradition upheld by this small village.  At no point within the short story is the purpose of the execution presented.  Even as Old Man Warner and Mr. Adams discuss the possibility of the lottery’s ending in the north village, the audience never learns why this village still does/ever participated in it.  At first, it seems as if this village is only sympathetic towards children as one’s name is put into the box at a certain age.  However, the audience quickly learns that not even the children are safe.  The most surprising aspect of this story, for me, stems from the apathetic nature of the citizens as they close in to stone Mrs. Hutchinson to death.  They view the killing as a civil responsibility rather than a moral grievance.

“Just because something is traditional is no reason to do it, of course.” 
― Lemony SnicketThe Blank Book

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  3. The Hunger Games – Catholic Education Resource Center


     I read Shirley Jackson’s great short story “The Lottery,” and I will confess that Finally, two of the participants in the Hunger Games (they changed the rules a  

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    Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” — OFFICIAL TRAILER [HD] ….The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson (Analysis 

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  7. The Lottery: Traditions Impact on Human Behavior – | CPALMS.org


    The Lottery: Tradition’s Impact on Human Behavior  to closely read Shirley Jackson’s”The Lottery” and analyze the impact of tradition on human behavior …. Extensions: “The Lottery” can be coupled with an excerpt from The Hunger Games.

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      StudySync Lesson Plan The Lottery


      SyncTV Premium Lesson on Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” ….. students complete the StudySync Premium Lesson for Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger. Games.

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      6. Mood words in “The Lottery” and The Hunger Games – Resources 


        Mar 9, 2013 – Students will compare the mood established in “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson and the reaping scene in The Hunger Games by Suzanne  

        1. Shirley Jackson | writingwomendotorg



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          Mar 25, 2012 – Author Shirley Jackson was doing errands in her Vermont village, stroller, when the germ of her alarming short story “The Lottery” (1948) came into her mind.  I mention this at the beginning of my review of “Hunger Games”  

        4. Lottery by shirley jackson discussion questions answers – free 



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        6. [DOC]

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          The Hunger Games – Lesson – Comparison to The Lottery – Day One …. Teacher needs a printed copy of ‘The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson to read aloud.

        7. Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery by Paige Levinger on Prezi



          Oct 3, 2013 – helps prepare/assists with Lottery Symbolism Grotesque Images Summary Hunger Games Modern day “The Lottery” Choosing certain people  

About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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3 Responses to “THE LOTTERY” & The Hunger Games

  1. Jessica says:

    Actually, the tradition in the lottery is to give everyone a great harvest. If you read it again and pay attention to what Old Man Warner said, he was talking about how the villages that stopped the lottery would not be eating well.

    • eslkevin says:

      I actually read it in 1970s when for the first time some textbooks were introducing the text to American youth. However, my mother had read it to me earlier when it was first put in a collection of Short stories by Readers Digest.
      Both my mom and I knew very well that the key idea for writing it had come from someone, Shirley Jackson, who had moved into a small town. Only when you are an outsider coming into a traditional and/or closed community, can you immediately grasp what the author is saying about how quickly traditions and practices get created and make it hard for those outside it to comprehend it. We were like aliens from another planet to these small towns–and the persecutions and abuse of some people for others was obviously unfair and unchristian, but we had not created those traditions. We could only raise the question of WHY DO THIS? WHY PERPETUATE THIS?

    • eslkevin says:

      Naturally, Jessica, the human sacrifices probably started in the time of a famine. It was likely believed that the only way to end the drought, pest and/or famine was to sacrifice to the Gods. However, almost no one onlooking the annual event could really comprehend how nor why the tradition had started. There was probably no longer a drought, nor pest, nor famine in the land. They just kept up tradition for tradition’s sake.

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