Skip to content

Sample Reader Response Essay: “The Lottery”

Below is a sample outline and a well-developed reader-response literary criticism essay in MLA on “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson. This sample is intended to help students write better essays.

“The Lottery” Reader Response Essay

Essay Outline

  1. Introduction
    1. Hook: Start with a thought-provoking quote or a brief description of the shocking events in “The Lottery” to grab the reader’s attention.
    2. Provide some context: Introduce the title, author (Shirley Jackson), and the basic premise of the story.
    3. Thesis Statement: State your main argument or the central point you’ll be making in your essay. This could be a statement about your personal response to the story or a broader claim about its impact on readers.
  2. Body Paragraphs
    1. Paragraph 1: Initial Reaction
      • Topic Sentence: Begin by discussing your initial emotional reaction to the story. How did it make you feel? What was your first impression?
      • Provide Examples: Quote specific passages or scenes from the story that elicited your initial response.
      • Explanation: Explain why these moments or descriptions had such an impact on you. What literary devices or techniques did the author use to create these feelings?
    2. Paragraph 2: Building Tension
      • Topic Sentence: Analyze how the story builds tension as it progresses. Did you feel a growing sense of unease or anticipation? Describe that experience.
      • Provide Examples: Cite passages where the tension in the story is palpable.
      • Explanation: Discuss the author’s use of foreshadowing, symbolism, or other literary devices that contributed to the sense of foreboding.
    3. Paragraph 3: Shocking Revelation
      • Topic Sentence: Examine your emotional response to the story’s shocking revelation during the lottery drawing.
      • Provide Examples: Quote the relevant parts of the story where the event occurs.
      • Explanation: Reflect on your feelings of shock, disbelief, or horror. How did the author manipulate your emotions at this critical moment?
    4. Paragraph 4: Thematic Impact
      • Topic Sentence: Explore the deeper themes and messages conveyed by “The Lottery.”
      • Provide Examples: Reference specific lines or scenes that highlight these themes.
      • Explanation: Discuss the social commentary or moral implications of the story. How did your personal response connect with these themes?
  3. Conclusion
    1. Restate Thesis: Summarize the main argument or point you made in your essay.
    2. Final Thoughts: Offer some concluding remarks about the enduring impact of “The Lottery” on readers and society. Reflect on the power of literature to provoke strong reader responses.
    3. Broader Significance: Discuss the broader implications of the story’s themes and how they resonate with contemporary issues or human nature.
    4. End with a thought-provoking statement or question that leaves the reader contemplating the story’s lasting impact.

Remember that in a reader-response criticism essay, you are encouraged to express your personal thoughts and feelings about the text while also providing analysis and evidence from the text to support your responses. This outline can serve as a framework to organize your essay effectively.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *