Shirley Jackson Bibliography

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Hanmou Yupan
Shirley Jackson Bibliography

Shirley Jackson was born on December 14, 1916, in San Francisco to a family with somewhat of a social position. She was not really the daughter that her parents wanted especially for her mother. Her mother thought of her as ugly, she wanted a daughter that was beautiful and a fool, unfortunately Shirley was neither of those things. It was said that she looked like her father with reddish-blonde hair, light eyes and fair complexion. Shirley was one that had the ability to see right through people, “straight sown through the layers of appearance, of convention, of style, of hypocrisy - right into the nutty core of reality itself” (Julius Robert Oppenheimer). As a young teenager the family decided to move to Rochester and this is where she felt like an outsider and felt rejected. Some say that because of what happened to her in high school of being rejected by the sorority is what made her write “The Lottery”. Shirley Jackson was one of the most notorious American cryptic writers of the twentieth century. Jackson could weave a story using themes of evil, violence, and victimization and make it all seem somehow normal. It was with these themes that Jackson wrote such shocking tales as The Lottery, The Haunting of Hill House, The Hangsaman, Louisa, Please Come Home, and The Bird's Nest. Not only did Jackson have the ability to write of terror but of the trial and tribulations of everyday life. She wrote Life Among the Savages and Raising Demons about her daily life with her children. Jackson's most famed publication was and today still is The Lottery. It was neither her first nor her last published story, but certainly the one that gave her a name. Although The Lottery gave Jackson a name it was not the only story to become famous. Many of her other books and stories became best sellers as well. Jackson’s reoccurring themes of evil, violence, and victimization are present in almost all of her gothic and horrific writings. Evil in Jackson’s works takes on many forms. “The Lottery” was first published in The New Yorker on the June 26th, 1948 issue, and boy did it ever stir the pot. There was “an unprecedented outpouring of fury, horror, rage, disgust, and intense fascination” (Julius Robert Oppenheimer). This story was “in incredibly bad taste,” “nauseating” and “gruesome”, some even said that this was “a new low in human viciousness” (Julius Robert Oppenheimer). Many people wanted to know where she came up with the idea for the story. There were a lot of speculations but we will never know the truth as to why Jackson wrote “The Lottery”. Some say that her husband Stanley was a big part of why she wrote the story. Jackson has told several people different stories as to how she came up with this story. She told some friends that this was based on anti-Semitic. Others were told this was based on her personal encounters with a shopkeeper; she told someone else that the characters were all from people she knew in North Bennington. She even told one of her old professors that she got the idea for the story from taking his class. Only Jackson knows why she wrote this story. This was maybe the closest description of how she viewed human evilness throughout her life experiences. Jackson brewed a lot of controversy when she wrote her short story “The Lottery”, because it talked about a horrific tradition that involved the sacrificing of a member of the community by stoning that person to death. In many ancient cultures it was believed that in order to grow healthy and plentiful crops which represented the “cycle of life” one had to sacrifice a person or animal in order to make the “gods” happy and them in return will grant a season full of crops. “By transferring one’s sins to persons or animals and then sacrificing them” would cleanse you and your crops from any bad vibes. This tradition was better known as “the Scapegoat archetype” (Griffin