Read “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson.
This story was published in 1948. Are there any cultural or historical events that Jackson might be commenting on here? Is this JUST a story about this particular time and place, or is she trying to say something important about human nature?

Read Gift of Magi.
Focus on the theme or symbolism in the story. (Relate to plot, major themes, characters, etc.) Do the symbols foreshadow anything, if so what?

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“The Lottery” is first and foremost a story about how pointless and random violence comes to be part of people's everyday life. It is also a story about the forces that perpetuate and institutionalize that violence, namely, dead and illogical tradition and prejudice. The story tells us how cruelty and mercilessness enter the lives of otherwise peaceful, simple and hard-working people and makes them act in a totally savage way....
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