Listen to the NPR podcast, "Killing Babies, Saving Lives".

The Lottery -- by Shirley Jackson
Key Terms:
  • Allegory
  • Juxtaposition
  • Denotation vs. Connotation

Questions after you read:
  • What are some symbols of good and evil in this story?
  • Is there symbolism in the names of the people?
  • Is the lottery rigged or is it fair?
  • Why does the town do this?
  • Is there anything similar in our society that Jackson might be commenting on? (What is this story an allegory for?)
  • How does Shirley Jackson "set us up" to be shocked at the end? (think of narrative structure and use of language)
  • What are the themes and big ideas of this stories?


The Ones Who Walked Away from Omelas -- by Ursula K. LeGuin
Questions after you read:
  • A utopia is an ideally perfect place, especially in its social, political, and moral aspects. Does Omelas meet the definition?
  • What symbols are used in this story?
  • What do you notice about the narrative structure?
  • What is the narrator’s opinion of Omelas? How can you tell?
  • What is the symbolic connotation of the locked, windowless cellar in which the lone child suffers?
  • Why does this society think they need to keep the child there?
  • Are there any parallels to our own society?
  • Any parallels to "The Lottery"?

Comparison Essay