How is “The Lottery” a dystopia? - Greer Middle College || Building

Writing Prompt (10 points)
What is “the lottery?” Why do
you think writers imagine and
write about terrible societies?
“The Lottery” Plot, Setting, Conflict Review
 Plot
 Exposition
 Rising
 Climax
 Falling
 Resolution
 Conflict(s)
 Setting
Why so creepy? Because it’s a dystopia!
Definition: A dystopia is the idea of a society,
usually in the imagined future, characterized by:
negative, anti-utopian (ideal society) elements
 political, environmental, religious, psychological,
technological, and/or social issues
Dystopian societies raise attention to issues that
may become present in the future
Why are DYSTOPIAS important?
Dystopias can be cautionary tales, in
which readers can see dangers in modern
trends taken to extremes (play the “what
if?” game)
They warn us of problems in our current
Discuss notion of good versus evil, in
ourselves and in the world around us
Dystopia Examples
The Giver
The Hunger Games trilogy
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
1984 by George Orwell
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
How is “The Lottery” a dystopia?
How is “The Lottery” a dystopia?
Society is designed to treat people equally– no
“unfair advantages” (taken to an extreme,
though, with lottery)
 Discusses social issues– “mob mentality” and
 Lack of emotional capacity; ignorance/ inability
to think independently
The central message, topic, or point an
author is trying to convey in a work.
 The theme is usually hinted at, rather than
directly explained to the reader.
Example– In The Lion King, a theme might be courage. A thematic
statement might be that ultimately courage enables good to
defeat evil, as seen in Simba’s courageous defeat of Scar to be
the rightful (and good) ruler that Scar was not.
What is a possible theme of “The Lottery?”
Watch me!
Definition: hinting to the reader about
what is to come without purposefully
spoiling the conclusion
Why Important? Foreshadowing builds
SUSPENSE by increasing the reader’s
anticipation of what will happen next.
Foreshadowing examples
1. Weather…i.e. Storm clouds  forthcoming danger
2. Phrases about the future (i.e. “Put off your trip until morning and stay
here tonight” might foreshadow a dangerous event in the future when the person
doesn’t stay)
3. Character dialogue—i.e. Simba asks his father, Mufasa, “We’ll
always be together, right?” His father dies in the next few minutes of the
movie. Other example: Bambi’s mother warns him of the dangers of the
forest, including Man with his gun. She dies soon after, having been shot by
4. Objects/events– i.e.
In “The Scarlet Ibis,” when the bird dies, the death
foreshadows Doodle’s death because they are similar in their weakness.
Foreshadowing in “The Lottery”
Foreshadowing in “The Lottery”
1. Children put stones in pockets/ make piles of stones in
town square why?
2. Tessie is late to the lottery, which is how she is set apart
as a character from the others will she be important?
3. Watson boy has to draw for himself and his mother—
where is father?
Definition: When a work (story, novel, poem,
play, film, etc.) makes the reader
uncertain/anxious about the outcome of the
Why Important? Suspense draws the
reader’s attention in more deeply to the
Suspense Examples
1. A character is hanging from a ledge, has to
jump across a wide space, etc. WILL (S)HE
2. In Toy Story 3, Woody and friends must
escape from nearly certain “death” in the
garbage incinerator…Stressful!
3. In The Lion King, Simba is running to
escape a stampede…will he make it out safely?
Suspense in “the Lottery”
What makes the story suspenseful?
Suspense in “the Lottery”
Author doesn’t reveal what lottery is until later, when
stone hits Tessie…foreshadowing that it is bad, but
the truth is hidden until the end.
“The Lottery” Discussion
What's up with the children of the village –
specifically the boys – being the first to stockpile
stones? What, if anything, is Jackson trying to suggest
about children?
Who supports the lottery? Why? Who might want to
stop it?
Do you agree with Mrs. Hutchinson – is the lottery
unfair? How or how not?
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