YMMV / The Lottery

Regarding Shirley Jackon's The Lottery
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: The lottery's ultimate victim is a murdered innocent... who, one hour ago, had no problem with the Lottery itself. Should the reader pity her, or does she get what she deserved? Jackson provides a very clear example of what complicity with a corrupt system looks like.
    • We're told that some neighbouring towns have abandoned the Lottery, which prompts grumbling amongst the villagers. But does that mean that they've stopped stoning people to death, or that they've just given up picking the victims at random? Especially as a few points could be taken as subtle hints that Tessie wasn't a completely unbiased selection...
  • It Was His Sled: Is there anyone who's been in American high school that doesn't know what the titular lottery turns out to be? (Note that this isn't the case in other countries, where the short story is much less well-known.)
  • Jerkass Woobie: Tessie Hutchinson doesn't protest the lottery until it becomes clear that she's in danger. She even tries to put her daughter at risk to give herself better odds. It's easy to pity her, though, since she's an innocent victim of chance — plus she dies by being stoned to death. (It's not clear whether the townspeople throw the rocks at her or actually go up and beat her to death with them).
  • Misaimed Fandom: While many readers were outraged by the story, others wrote to Jackson assuming the Lottery was a real custom and asking where they could see one. Jackson wasn't pleased by this.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The reason behind the lottery. A woman is killed simply because tradition says so. And it could just have easily been a child.
  • Not So Crazy Anymore: The story was written in 1948-15 years before the murder of Kitty Genovese and the coining of the "bystander effect," the Stanley Milgram obedience experiment, and Hannah Arendt's book on the Nazis' "banality of evil." Jackson was impressively ahead of her time for writing about a group of average non-evil citizens who are willing to murder a neighbor with their own hands just because of peer pressure and because it's traditional.
  • School Study Media: Guaranteed to be the one short story in class that you actually remember reading.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: So says Old Man Warner in-story.
  • Vindicated by History: At its publishing, The Lottery had some criticism. Today, it's taught in school literature classes and considered one of the best American short stories ever written.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Didactic?

Regarding the unrelated 2014 TV series The Lottery
  • Idiot Plot: The series starts with Dr. Alison Lennon successfully creating 100 fertilized embryos for the first time in ten years. She tells the government that she isn't entirely sure how it happened and more research needs to be done. The government fires her under suspicious circumstances, which starts her on a long path of distrusting the government and finding ways to subvert them. After a whole bunch of drama (and even water torture), the government decides to hire her back the very next episode and force her to...continue the very research she was planning on doing anyway. Seriously, all the subversive things that she does in every episode that follows wouldn't have happened had the government not decided to fire her and then forcibly rehire her a few days later.
  • Too Good to Last: Sadly despite having a relatively interesting plot and that the final episode ended with the possibility of a second season, it was not renewed for one.