“[I]t does seem, dear, that this gloomy kind of story is what all you young people think about these days. Why don’t you write something to cheer people up?”
––– Shirley Jackson’s mother, in a letter, after the publication of Jackson’s short story The Lottery; a story of a randomly selected member of a small town being sacrificed, to insure an abundant harvest every year.
Yet Jackson’s story seems to me to be but a thinly disguised allegory for what actually happens – to this very day. The only difference, in my mind, is the selection of those to be sacrificed really isn’t all that random, is it?
Whether the ‘harvest’ is actually agricultural, or simply an increase in shareholder earnings, it’s the migrant workers or the employees, and those not paid enough to live on, or not rich enough to become a shareholder, who are sacrificed on the altar of the all-mighty dollar.
How would you have me write something to cheer people up?
Reality, as I see it, isn’t cheerful…
[The Lottery was published on this date in 1948.]