Author Shirley Jackson's Hate Mail

by compound complex 16 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • compound complex
    compound complex

    I felt you readers might find interesting how an author's work can receive a reaction from the public he/she never imagined:

    Many readers demanded an explanation of the situation described in the story [The Lottery], and a month after the initial publication, Shirley Jackson responded in the San Francisco Chronicle (July 22, 1948):

    Explaining just what I had hoped the story to say is very difficult. I suppose, I hoped, by setting a particularly brutal ancient rite in the present and in my own village to shock the story's readers with a graphic dramatization of the pointless violence and general inhumanity in their own lives.

    Shirley Jackson wrote regarding the hate mail she received:

    One of the most terrifying aspects of publishing stories and books is the realization that they are going to be read, and read by strangers. I had never fully realized this before, although I had of course in my imagination dwelt lovingly upon the thought of the millions and millions of people who were going to be uplifted and enriched and delighted by the stories I wrote. It had simply never occurred to me that these millions and millions of people might be so far from being uplifted that they would sit down and write me letters I was downright scared to open; of the three-hundred-odd letters that I received that summer I can count only thirteen that spoke kindly to me, and they were mostly from friends. Even my mother scolded me: "Dad and I did not care at all for your story in The New Yorker," she wrote sternly; "it 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?"[2]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lottery

  • BabaYaga
    BabaYaga

    Beloved CoCo... it has been the overwhelming fear of people not understanding what I needed to express that has held your Baba hostage for so long.

    I absolutely adore Ms. Jackson's works... would that I could write her and tell her how I feel about her incredible masterpiece "the Lottery".

    Thank you for this post and much love and admiration for your own written works!

  • compound complex
    compound complex

    Thank you, dear Baba, for your wonderful response! I hope that my own simple words (*%!*[email protected]&!*^) strike a chord in someone's heart.

    I recall reading The Lottery in junior high ... such a shame that Ms. Jackson died so young.

    Gratefully and with love,

    CoCo

  • beksbks
    beksbks

    Wow

    I love that story, it seems so topical and so relevant. I never even considered hate mail. Though I should have.

  • compound complex
    compound complex

    Hey Beks:

    I never even considered hate mail. Though I should have.

    ?

    CoCo

  • purplesofa
    purplesofa

    "Dad and I did not care at all for your story in The New Yorker," she wrote sternly; "it 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?"[2]

    They would love WT!!! The Lottery is a great short story. I imagine the people that hate it are driven by the fear of truth the story tells. purps
  • mrsjones5
    mrsjones5

    I love Shirley Jackson's work. I've just read "The Haunting of Hill House" and watched the complete B&W movie on Youtube. Of course the book was better.

    I googled "Shirley Jackson hate mail" and came up with this little blurb which I think is interesting:

    "The general tone of the early letters, however, was a kind of wide-eyed, shocked innocence. People at first were not so much concerned with what the story meant; what they wanted to know was where these lotteries were held, and whether they could go there and watch. [2]" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lottery

  • compound complex
    compound complex

    Yes, Purps ... people driven by hate are fearful of the truth. Those comments by Mom are unintentionally humorous!

    I read that, too, Josie, and thought it a sad commentary on the gladiator-in-the-arena lust for blood that the populace demands.

    Thanks, ladies, for your appreciated comments!

    CoCo

  • ziddina
    ziddina

    I've just read "The Haunting of Hill House" for the first time... I actually preferred the screenplay to the book because of the modifications in relationships they made for the screenplay - and I'll be the first to admit that the screenwriters "Hollywoodized" it...

    I liked the change in the appearance of the doctor, the change (BIG changes, actually...) to the doctor's wife [turning her into a sceptic instead of a brassy, loud-voiced know-it-all spiritualist improved the story, in my opinion], and I absolutely loved Claire Bloom's character as written in the screenplay.

    On the other hand, I missed the additional scary scenes written into the book that weren't transferred to the screenplay. I suppose special-effects limitations rendered the 'trips through the woods when everything turned into a negative of reality' unworkable for the 1964 movie. I'm also disappointed in the remake; they could have picked up those scenes and made a very effective movie; instead they overloaded the 'warning cherubs' sculptures in the house, along with broad hints of pedophilia [shades of the JWs!], and killed off Owen Wilson playing Russ Tamblyn's character in the original movie. Oh, and the original was much scarier with the thundering, unseen noises at the door than the remake with its fake, 'plastic' wooden trim turning into 'claws' or 'teeth', reaching down from the ceiling for the heroine [I forgot the actress' name in the remake].

    Having said all that, I'll have to get my hands on "The Lottery". I'd bet that it inspired a number of classic horror and sci-fi stories that came later.

    Zid

    jk

  • compound complex
    compound complex

    Great commentary, Zid!

    See you after work.

    Thanks,

    CoCo

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