The Lottery

the lotteryShirley Jackson had no idea of the angry reaction that her short story “The Lottery” would cause when it first appeared in New Yorker Magazine in 1948. This ing story tells of how a group of otherwise “normal” people can be so influenced by collective or mentality that they do inhuman things. This was shortly after World War Two, as Americans were learning of the horrors of German , Japanese in the Asia Pacific, and their own use of the . The story suggests that such things could also happen in a small American town. Was the problem that this was too close to the truth for the U.S.A.’s South?

English Learner Vocabulary Help

The words and expressions in our Pre-Intermediate level Simplified English story which are not in our 1200 word list are: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and .

There is also a word that is in our Pre-Intermediate word list but has a meaning in the story which is different to the one most commonly used. We are told a number of times that people had to draw lottery papers from the black box. Here the word means to choose something from a group without knowing which one you are choosing.

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disturb(v: disturb, disturbs, disturbed, disturbing) 1. To stop (someone) from working, sleeping, etc.; to interrupt or bother someone or something. 2. To worry or upset someone; to trouble emotionally or mentally. 3000

mob(n: mob pl mobs) A large group or crowd of people who are angry or violent or difficult to control. 5000

concentration camp(n: concentration camp pl concentration camps) Prisons where large numbers of people who are not soldiers are kept during a war and are usually forced to live in very bad conditions.

(n: atrocity pl atrocities) Very cruel or terrible acts or actions. 9000

atomic-bomb(n: atomic-bomb pl atomic-bombs) A bomb that produces a very powerful explosion when atoms are split apart.
A bomb is a device that is designed to explode in order to injure or kill people or to damage or destroy property.

(adj: typical) Normal for a person, thing, or group; average or usual. (ตามแบบฉบับ) 2000

(adj: racist) A person or group of people who believe that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
(n: racism, noncount) 1. The belief that some races of people are better than others. 2. Poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race, usually involving the idea that one’s race is superior and has the right to control others. 3000

breath(n: breath pl breaths) The air that you take into your lungs and send out from your lungs. His breath smells like garlic. 3000
(idiom: hold your breath) To stop breathing for a short time, such as when you dive into water.
(idiom: take a deep breath) To take a lot of air into your lungs.

(n: ceremony pl ceremonies) A formal act that is a part of an important event. 5000

coal(n: coal, noncount) A hard black or brownish-black substance within the earth that is burned for fuel or heat. 2000

complain(v: complain, complains, complained, complaining) To say or write that you that you are unhappy or not satisfied with something or are sick, uncomfortable, etc. 2000
(n: complaint pl complaints) A statement that you are unhappy or not satisfied with something. 2000

(n: crack pl cracks) 1. A split or break in something that creates lines in its surface but does not separate it into pieces. (รอยแตก) 2. A sudden loud, sharp sound, such as when ice breaks or lightning strikes. (เสียงแตกเปรี้ยง)
(v: crack, cracks, cracked, cracking) 1. To make or cause a crack in something. The mirror cracked when she dropped it. (แตกร้าว) 2. To hit or press (something) so hard that it breaks apart or opens suddenly. He cracked open the eggs. (กะเทาะออก) 3. [of a voice] To change sharply in tone or pitch, especially because of strong emotion. Her voice cracked as she told them about the accident. 2000

cracked cup cracking eggs

crazy(adj: crazy, crazier, craziest) 1. Mentally ill; affected with madness or insanity. 2. Very foolish or unreasonable. 3000

crowd(n: crowd pl crowds) A large group of people who are together in one place.
(v: crowd, crowds, crowded, crowding) 1. To come together in a large group. (ชุมนุม) 2. To fill too full by coming together.
(adj: crowded) Having or containing a lot of people or things. Crowded buses. 2000

desperate(adj: desperate) Very sad and upset because of having little or no hope; Being in a very dangerous or almost hopeless situation. 2000

fold(v: fold, folds, folded, folding) To bend one part of something such as cloth, paper etc. over or against another part. 3000
To fold your arms or hands means to put one arm or hand over the other arm or hand in a way that keeps them together.

gossip(n: gossip, noncount) Information about the behavior and personal lives of other people, not always truthful. 4000

grocery(n: grocery pl groceries) A store that sells food and household items. Originally, grocery stores only sold 'dry goods' (food that came in tins, packets, jars, boxes, etc). In modern times, they have developed into supermarkets which sell many more things such as drinks, frozen food, meat, fruit, vegetables, etc. 4000
(n: grocer pl grocers) A person who works in a grocery. 6000

hurry(v: hurry, hurries, hurried, hurrying) To [cause to] to move, act, or go quickly. I must hurry or I will be late for the train. 2000

joke(n: joke pl jokes) Something said or done to cause laughter. She meant it as a joke, but some people took her seriously. I heard a funny joke yesterday. 2000

(n: Jr or Jnr) 1. Abbreviation for Junior. 2. An extra word in the name, given to a boy who has the same first name as his father. 3000

(n: lottery pl lotteries) A system used to decide who will get or be given something by choosing names or numbers by chance. 7000

nervous(adj: nervous) Having or showing feelings of being worried and afraid about what might happen.
(adv: nervously) In a nervous way. 3000

nod(v: nod, nods, nodded, nodding) 1. To move your head up and down as a way of answering 'yes' or of showing agreement, understanding, or approval. 2. To move your head up and down as a signal to someone or as a way of saying hello or goodbye to someone. 3000

(n: pause pl pauses) A short period of time in which something stops or is stopped before starting again. 3000

pile(n: pile pl piles) 1. A group of things that are put one on top of another. A pile of books. 2. A very large amount of something. She had piles of work to do. He makes a pile of money.
(v: pile, piles, piled, piling) To make a pile of something; to put something in a pile. 2000

(adv: rather) 1. To a certain extent; slightly; a little. 2. Preferably; used to indicate what you want or prefer to do, have, etc. 1000

stool(n: stool pl stools) A simple seat for one person with no back or arms. (ม้านั่งไม่มีพนักซึ่งมี 3 หรือ 4 ขา) 5000

tradition(n: tradition pl traditions) A way of thinking, behaving, or doing something that has been used by the people in a particular group, family, society, etc., for a long time. (จารีตประเพณี) 2000

(v: draw, draws, drew, drawn, drawing) 1. To make (a picture, image, etc.) by making lines on a surface, especially with a pencil, crayon, etc. but not usually with paint. He drew a picture of a flower. 2. To move (something) by pulling. The carriage was drawn by two horses. 3. To move towards or away from someone or something. Christmas is drawing closer. 4. To choose (a thing) from a group without knowing which one you are choosing. We drew names from a hat to decide who would go on the trip. 1000

draw hansom cab
An 18 minute film produced by Encyclopaedia Britannica Educational Corporation which follows the storyline quite closely. To watch online, click here. To download the mp4, click here.
A short (10 minute) video adaption produced by Aura Pictures. It broadly follows the storyline but has some important differences. To watch online, click here. To download the mp4, click here.

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