Monday, 30 June 2014

Year 9 Reading List - have a look through and try to read at least one of these quite frankly amazing novels


Year 9 Reading List


The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Esther Greenwood, a talented and successful young writer, succumbs to mental illness during her summer internship as a junior editor at a magazine in New York City in the early 1950s.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman Accompanied by her shape-shifting demon, Lyra Belacqua sets out to prevent her best friend and other kidnapped children from becoming the subject of gruesome experiments in the Far North. Book One of "His Dark Materials" Trilogy.

I capture the castle by Dodie Smith Cassandra's dad is a once-famous writer and her family is barely scraping by in a crumbling English castle they leased when times were good. The family's romantic isolation ends when the wealthy Cotton family takes over the nearby estate.


The lovely bones by Alice Sebold  "I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973." That's Susie Salmon speaking from heaven as she watches her family attempt to cope with her death at the hands of an unknown rapist. Susie watches her family face the worst -- then, in time, begin to mend.

The perks of being a wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Charlie is a 9th grade wallflower who faces the familiar struggles of high school--making friends, a first relationship, exploring sexuality--but he must also deal with his best friend's recent suicide. 

Adrian -- somewhat pretentious, occasionally insensitive and just a little dim -- has somehow managed to convince himself that he is an intellectual. His diary is -- inadvertently -- one of the funniest things you'll ever read. 

Oranges are not the only fruit by Jeanette Winterson
Jeanette has some difficult issues to sort through: her mother thinks she's the Chosen one from God; she's beginning to be attracted to girls; and an orange demon keeps popping into her psyche.

Maus: a survivor's tale by Art Speigelman This collects parts one and two of Speigelman's Pulitzer Prize winning graphic novel about the Holocaust. The Nazis, portrayed as cats, systematically hunt down the Jews, drawn as mice, and herd them toward the Final Solution.

1984 by George Orwell A dystopian novel set in the future in a world full of war and controlling government. No one is safe and no one can hide: any attempt to think for yourself or carve your own path puts a person in huge danger.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Trilogy of Four: A Trilogy in Four Parts by Douglas Adams What would you do if the world and everything that you knew was completely destroyed. And you were left wearing only your dressing gown. What is the meaning of life and are all robots really that miserable?

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Penguin Modern Classics) by Ken Kesey Set in a psychiatric ward, this novel looks at the pressures on people to conform  and what you would do to hang on to who you are. Madness, medication and rebellion.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger A love story and a mystery that plays with time and your expectations about how a story should be built.  You wil really struggle to put this international bestseller down once you’ve started. 

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger A story about rebellion and how to be young is to push against the world around you and people older than you. Rich, irresponsible and a little bit lost, the main character is a dropout. He’s been kicked out of school for the fourth time, lives a privileged life in fashionable New York and hates the ‘phonies’ that surround him.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll Utterly bizzare and mind-bending, Lewis Carroll writes stories that hover somewhere between fairy tale, fantasy and nightmare. A young girl disappears one sunny day down a rabbit hole and falls into a world of nonsense, magic and weirdness. 

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee This powerful, ground-breaking story challenged racist views in America and became a huge international hit. A world of injustice, violence and prejudice is reflected through the innocent and funny eyes of six year old Scout.  

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt  A brave, shocking and funny autobiography which tells the story of McCourt’s poverty-stricken upbringing in Ireland and his escape to a new life in America. An alcoholic father and a mother determined to keep the family together, this includes sheep’s heads for Christmas lunch and a vivid description of life on the edge.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi A good book should open up areas of the world that you would never normally get to see. Persepolis is a ground breaking graphic novel that tells the story of a young girl struggling during and after the political and religious uprising in Iran. Daughter of educated , liberal parents, the main character struggles under the control of religious extremism and the need to leave her home country for an uncertain life in Europe.

Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer Funny, hugely imaginative and utterly shocking, this novel tells the story of a young American Jewish man travelling through Ukraine to track down his family heritage and to uncover what happened to them under the terror of the Nazis. All of this through the eyes of his wiling but unreliable guide and driver Alex who has a shaky grasp of English and a farting, over-affectionate dog.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini A story that lays bare the terror, loss and upheaval of Afghanistan in the 20th century, this powerful coming of age story is told through the point of view of Amir who witnesses a terrible crime as a boy in Afghanistan and must deal with the guilt as an adult living in America. This guilt will force him back to his home country and back into his past.

Jayne Eyre by Charlotte Bronte What do you do when you are alone, unloved and unattractive in Victorian England – and you’re a woman??? This novel is about inner strength, inner intelligence and the determination that no matter how small or plain or unimportant a person may seem, everyone has the right to a future and a voice.

Watership Down by Richard Adams This is a novel about rabbits. About being a rabbit, thinking like a rabbit and dying like a rabbit. Forget Peter Rabbit and Beatrix Potter. This is about nature red in tooth a claw and the struggle of staying alive and together when everything around you wants you dead. Including each other.


Monday, 12 May 2014

A Telephone Call

Dorothy Parker

PLEASE, God, let him telephone me now. Dear God, let him call me now. I won't ask anything else of You, truly I won't. It isn't very much to ask. It would be so little to You, God, such a little, little thing. Only let him telephone now. Please, God. Please, please, please.
If I didn't think about it, maybe the telephone might ring. Sometimes it does that. If I could think of something else. If I could think of something else. Knobby if I counted five hundred by fives, it might ring by that time. I'll count slowly. I won't cheat. And if it rings when I get to three hundred, I won't stop; I won't answer it until I get to five hundred. Five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty, thirty-five, forty, forty-five, fifty.... Oh, please ring. Please.
This is the last time I'll look at the clock. I will not look at it again. It's ten minutes past seven. He said he would telephone at five o'clock. "I'll call you at five, darling." I think that's where he said "darling." I'm almost sure he said it there. I know he called me "darling" twice, and the other time was when he said good-by. "Good-by, darling." He was busy, and he can't say much in the office, but he called me "darling" twice. He couldn't have minded my calling him up. I know you shouldn't keep telephoning them--I know they don't like that. When you do that they know you are thinking about them and wanting them, and that makes them hate you. But I hadn't talked to him in three days-not in three days. And all I did was ask him how he was; it was just the way anybody might have called him up. He couldn't have minded that. He couldn't have thought I was bothering him. "No, of course you're not," he said. And he said he'd telephone me. He didn't have to say that. I didn't ask him to, truly I didn't. I'm sure I didn't. I don't think he would say he'd telephone me, and then just never do it. Please don't let him do that, God. Please don't.
"I'll call you at five, darling." "Good-by, darling.,' He was busy, and he was in a hurry, and there were people around him, but he called me "darling" twice. That's mine, that's mine. I have that, even if I never see him again. Oh, but that's so little. That isn't enough. Nothing's enough, if I never see him again. Please let me see him again, God. Please, I want him so much. I want him so much. I'll be good, God. I will try to be better, I will, If you will let me see him again. If You will let him telephone me. Oh, let him telephone me now.
Ah, don't let my prayer seem too little to You, God. You sit up there, so white and old, with all the angels about You and the stars slipping by. And I come to You with a prayer about a telephone call. Ah, don't laugh, God. You see, You don't know how it feels. You're so safe, there on Your throne, with the blue swirling under You. Nothing can touch You; no one can twist Your heart in his hands. This is suffering, God, this is bad, bad suffering. Won't You help me? For Your Son's sake, help me. You said You would do whatever was asked of You in His name. Oh, God, in the name of Thine only beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, let him telephone me now.
I must stop this. I mustn't be this way. Look. Suppose a young man says he'll call a girl up, and then something happens, and he doesn't. That isn't so terrible, is it? Why, it's gong on all over the world, right this minute. Oh, what do I care what's going on all over the world? Why can't that telephone ring? Why can't it, why can't it? Couldn't you ring? Ah, please, couldn't you? You damned, ugly, shiny thing. It would hurt you to ring, wouldn't it? Oh, that would hurt you. Damn you, I'll pull your filthy roots out of the wall, I'll smash your smug black face in little bits. Damn you to hell.
No, no, no. I must stop. I must think about something else. This is what I'll do. I'll put the clock in the other room. Then I can't look at it. If I do have to look at it, then I'll have to walk into the bedroom, and that will be something to do. Maybe, before I look at it again, he will call me. I'll be so sweet to him, if he calls me. If he says he can't see me tonight, I'll say, "Why, that's all right, dear. Why, of course it's all right." I'll be the way I was when I first met him. Then maybe he'll like me again. I was always sweet, at first. Oh, it's so easy to be sweet to people before you love them.
I think he must still like me a little. He couldn't have called me "darling" twice today, if he didn't still like me a little. It isn't all gone, if he still likes me a little; even if it's only a little, little bit. You see, God, if You would just let him telephone me, I wouldn't have to ask You anything more. I would be sweet to him, I would be gay, I would be just the way I used to be, and then he would love me again. And then I would never have to ask You for anything more. Don't You see, God? So won't You please let him telephone me? Won't You please, please, please?
Are You punishing me, God, because I've been bad? Are You angry with me because I did that? Oh, but, God, there are so many bad people --You could not be hard only to me. And it wasn't very bad; it couldn't have been bad. We didn't hurt anybody, God. Things are only bad when they hurt people. We didn't hurt one single soul; You know that. You know it wasn't bad, don't You, God? So won't You let him telephone me now?
If he doesn't telephone me, I'll know God is angry with me. I'll count five hundred by fives, and if he hasn't called me then, I will know God isn't going to help me, ever again. That will be the sign. Five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty, thirty-five, forty, forty-five, fifty, fifty-five. . . It was bad. I knew it was bad. All right, God, send me to hell. You think You're frightening me with Your hell, don't You? You think. Your hell is worse than mine.
I mustn't. I mustn't do this. Suppose he's a little late calling me up --that's nothing to get hysterical about. Maybe he isn't going to call--maybe he's coming straight up here without telephoning. He'll be cross if he sees I have been crying. They don't like you to cry. He doesn't cry. I wish to God I could make him cry. I wish I could make him cry and tread the floor and feel his heart heavy and big and festering in him. I wish I could hurt him like hell.
He doesn't wish that about me. I don't think he even knows how he makes me feel. I wish he could know, without my telling him. They don't like you to tell them they've made you cry. They don't like you to tell them you're unhappy because of them. If you do, they think you're possessive and exacting. And then they hate you. They hate you whenever you say anything you really think. You always have to keep playing little games. Oh, I thought we didn't have to; I thought this was so big I could say whatever I meant. I guess you can't, ever. I guess there isn't ever anything big enough for that. Oh, if he would just telephone, I wouldn't tell him I had been sad about him. They hate sad people. I would be so sweet and so gay, he couldn't help but like me. If he would only telephone. If he would only telephone.
Maybe that's what he is doing. Maybe he is coming on here without calling me up. Maybe he's on his way now. Something might have happened to him. No, nothing could ever happen to him. I can't picture anything happening to him. I never picture him run over. I never see him lying still and long and dead. I wish he were dead. That's a terrible wish. That's a lovely wish. If he were dead, he would be mine. If he were dead, I would never think of now and the last few weeks. I would remember only the lovely times. It would be all beautiful. I wish he were dead. I wish he were dead, dead, dead.
This is silly. It's silly to go wishing people were dead just because they don't call you up the very minute they said they would. Maybe the clock's fast; I don't know whether it's right. Maybe he's hardly late at all. Anything could have made him a little late. Maybe he had to stay at his office. Maybe he went home, to call me up from there, and somebody came in. He doesn't like to telephone me in front of people. Maybe he's worried, just alittle, little bit, about keeping me waiting. He might even hope that I would call him up. I could do that. I could telephone him.
I mustn't. I mustn't, I mustn't. Oh, God, please don't let me telephone him. Please keep me from doing that. I know, God, just as well as You do, that if he were worried about me, he'd telephone no matter where he was or how many people there were around him. Please make me know that, God. I don't ask YOU to make it easy for me--You can't do that, for all that You could make a world. Only let me know it, God. Don't let me go on hoping. Don't let me say comforting things to myself. Please don't let me hope, dear God. Please don't.
I won't telephone him. I'll never telephone him again as long as I live. He'll rot in hell, before I'll call him up. You don't have to give me strength, God; I have it myself. If he wanted me, he could get me. He knows where I ram. He knows I'm waiting here. He's so sure of me, so sure. I wonder why they hate you, as soon as they are sure of you. I should think it would be so sweet to be sure.
It would be so easy to telephone him. Then I'd know. Maybe it wouldn't be a foolish thing to do. Maybe he wouldn't mind. Maybe he'd like it. Maybe he has been trying to get me. Sometimes people try and try to get you on the telephone, and they say the number doesn't answer. I'm not just saying that to help myself; that really happens. You know that really happens, God. Oh, God, keep me away from that telephone. Kcep me away. Let me still have just a little bit of pride. I think I'm going to need it, God. I think it will be all I'll have.
Oh, what does pride matter, when I can't stand it if I don't talk to him? Pride like that is such a silly, shabby little thing. The real pride, the big pride, is in having no pride. I'm not saying that just because I want to call him. I am not. That's true, I know that's true. I will be big. I will be beyond little prides.
Please, God, keep me from, telephoning him. Please, God.
I don't see what pride has to do with it. This is such a little thing, for me to be bringing in pride, for me to be making such a fuss about. I may have misunderstood him. Maybe he said for me to call him up, at five. "Call me at five, darling." He could have said that, perfectly well. It's so possible that I didn't hear him right. "Call me at five, darling." I'm almost sure that's what he said. God, don't let me talk this way to myself. Make me know, please make me know.
I'll think about something else. I'll just sit quietly. If I could sit still. If I could sit still. Maybe I could read. Oh, all the books are about people who love each other, truly and sweetly. What do they want to write about that for? Don't they know it isn't tree? Don't they know it's a lie, it's a God damned lie? What do they have to tell about that for, when they know how it hurts? Damn them, damn them, damn them.
I won't. I'll be quiet. This is nothing to get excited about. Look. Suppose he were someone I didn't know very well. Suppose he were another girl. Then I d just telephone and say, "Well, for goodness' sake, what happened to you?" That's what I'd do, and I'd never even think about it. Why can't I be casual and natural, just because I love him? I can be. Honestly, I can be. I'll call him up, and be so easy and pleasant. You see if I won't, God. Oh, don't let me call him. Don't, don't, don't.
God, aren't You really going to let him call me? Are You sure, God? Couldn't You please relent? Couldn't You? I don't even ask You to let him telephone me this minute, God; only let him do it in a little while. I'll count five hundred by fives. I'll do it so slowly and so fairly. If he hasn't telephoned then, I'll call him. I will. Oh, please, dear God, dear kind God, my blessed Father in Heaven, let him call before then. Please, God. Please.
Five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twentyfive, thirty, thirty-five....

Mrs. T's Story - Krishna Padmasola

I felt bad today.That headache was back. Dr. Wilkins came and spent some time with me. He is very nice with all the inmates,but sometimes I think I can detect some trace of annoyance in him when Martha goes on and on with her list of complaints and does not want to let him go.
I felt bad today.That headache was back. Dr. Wilkins came and spent some time with me. He is very nice with all the inmates,but sometimes I think I can detect some trace of annoyance in him when Martha goes on and on with her list of complaints and does not want to let him go. He wanted to talk about my life and my experiences. But I remember so little. Sometimes I am able to recall certain incidents but that is as if a faint breath of mental association has turned the leaves of the book of my past to a forgotten page , offering me a momentary glimpse. Dr.Wilkins said that I should write down whatever I remember, whenever I recall some incident. I said that I would try.
Last night I had trouble falling asleep. It did not help that Martha was singing lullabies to her teddy bear.When I woke up, it was 3 a.m., and I was trembling from the nightmare. I wanted to get something to drink from the refrigerator, but then I remembered the small animals I saw in there the last time. The nurse did not believe me. But I don't care.I think she is arrogant and is not responsive to the needs of the inmates.
I remember when Roger, me and our three children were living together, and things were not going very well for Roger at work. He used to come home late and was usually frustrated. It was then that the headaches began. In the beginning they lasted for short periods of time, but later on they lasted longer . I also heard the voices accusing me that I was not a good wife to Roger. I felt crushed and useless . I could not think of what I could do to help Roger. Poor Roger,with my head going thump,thump like the beats of a drum,the drummer playing on the drumhead alive to pain, like the thunder rolling,rolling and crushing all thoughts and leaving a body like a sapling drained of its life, drooping in the aftermath of a thunderstorm,oh Roger you do not know the anguish I felt when you told me that you wanted a divorce. I did not know why I was doing anything anymore. I was going on a journey with confidence but then when I consulted the map in a moment of doubt, I saw that I was travelling in a maze.
Roger left me. I had to sell the house and move to a small apartment. The kids were afraid to talk to me. They stayed with Roger.The headaches, and the voices returned with a vengeance. I heard them say that I was a bad wife and a bad mother. They said that they were punishing me for being bad. Sometimes I would stay in bed the whole day looking at our family photograph. That was the only way I could stand the pain. Sometimes I would look out of the window and see huge dinosaurs walk by.
One day I went to groceries and saw some snakes near the checkout counter. I did not want to go out through the checkout counter and as I was leaving by another exit, some policemen came and took back all my groceries. Then they took down my name and address. I did not know what I had done wrong.Finally they let me go. It was after that incident that Dr.Wilkins visited me for the first time. He said that the sergeant had told him about me. He was very kind and understanding. I felt that he was a friend.He gave me some medicine so that there was less pain and I was even able to sleep.
What were those lights? Flashing,red and blue, changing the world with each flash, dissolving it into darkness and bringing it forth once more;and what was that sound? incessantly wailing, rising and falling like the waves on a deserted and treacherous shore on a new-moon night;and who was that?was it a policeman who said, "ma'am, would you step out please?" I fainted.
The next day, I found myself here. Dr. Wilkins came to see me; I was happy to know that he works here. He said that I was driving on the highway at midnight in my nightgown and when the police found me, I had fainted.
Martha is talking in her sleep. I would really like something to drink right now. Next time I should ask the nurse to leave me some drinks on my bedside table. I have written this down and I hope this may be of use to Dr.Wilkins . The clock is striking 4 a.m. and there is the stillness of repose in the dormitory. The world has become silent, and my tumultous thoughts are being attennuated gradually as I approach the half awake half dreamy stage which is the precursor to sleep....

The Lottery


Shirley Jackson
The classic short story about conformity and tradition in America.
The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green. The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank, around ten o'clock; in some towns there were so many people that the lottery took two days and had to be started on June 2th. but in this village, where there were only about three hundred people, the whole lottery took less than two hours, so it could begin at ten o'clock in the morning and still be through in time to allow the villagers to get home for noon dinner.
The children assembled first, of course. School was recently over for the summer, and the feeling of liberty sat uneasily on most of them; they tended to gather together quietly for a while before they broke into boisterous play. and their talk was still of the classroom and the teacher, of books and reprimands. Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones; Bobby and Harry Jones and Dickie Delacroix-- the villagers pronounced this name 'Dellacroy'--eventually made a great pile of stones in one corner of the square and guarded it against the raids of the other boys. The girls stood aside, talking among themselves, looking over their shoulders at rolled in the dust or clung to the hands of their older brothers or sisters.
Soon the men began to gather. surveying their own children, speaking of planting and rain, tractors and taxes. They stood together, away from the pile of stones in the corner, and their jokes were quiet and they smiled rather than laughed. The women, wearing faded house dresses and sweaters, came shortly after their menfolk. They greeted one another and exchanged bits of gossip as they went to join their husbands. Soon the women, standing by their husbands, began to call to their children, and the children came reluctantly, having to be called four or five times. Bobby Martin ducked under his mother's grasping hand and ran, laughing, back to the pile of stones. His father spoke up sharply, and Bobby came quickly and took his place between his father and his oldest brother.
The lottery was conducted--as were the square dances, the teen club, the Halloween program--by Mr. Summers. who had time and energy to devote to civic activities. He was a round-faced, jovial man and he ran the coal business, and people were sorry for him. because he had no children and his wife was a scold. When he arrived in the square, carrying the black wooden box, there was a murmur of conversation among the villagers, and he waved and called. 'Little late today, folks.' The postmaster, Mr. Graves, followed him, carrying a three- legged stool, and the stool was put in the center of the square and Mr. Summers set the black box down on it. The villagers kept their distance, leaving a space between themselves and the stool. and when Mr. Summers said, 'Some of you fellows want to give me a hand?' there was a hesitation before two men. Mr. Martin and his oldest son, Baxter. came forward to hold the box steady on the stool while Mr. Summers stirred up the papers inside it.
The original paraphernalia for the lottery had been lost long ago, and the black box now resting on the stool had been put into use even before Old Man Warner, the oldest man in town, was born. Mr. Summers spoke frequently to the villagers about making a new box, but no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box. There was a story that the present box had been made with some pieces of the box that had preceded it, the one that had been constructed when the first people settled down to make a village here. Every year, after the lottery, Mr. Summers began talking again about a new box, but every year the subject was allowed to fade off without anything's being done. The black box grew shabbier each year: by now it was no longer completely black but splintered badly along one side to show the original wood color, and in some places faded or stained.
Mr. Martin and his oldest son, Baxter, held the black box securely on the stool until Mr. Summers had stirred the papers thoroughly with his hand. Because so much of the ritual had been forgotten or discarded, Mr. Summers had been successful in having slips of paper substituted for the chips of wood that had been used for generations. Chips of wood, Mr. Summers had argued. had been all very well when the village was tiny, but now that the population was more than three hundred and likely to keep on growing, it was necessary to use something that would fit more easily into he black box. The night before the lottery, Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves made up the slips of paper and put them in the box, and it was then taken to the safe of Mr. Summers' coal company and locked up until Mr. Summers was ready to take it to the square next morning. The rest of the year, the box was put way, sometimes one place, sometimes another; it had spent one year in Mr. Graves's barn and another year underfoot in the post office. and sometimes it was set on a shelf in the Martin grocery and left there.
There was a great deal of fussing to be done before Mr. Summers declared the lottery open. There were the lists to make up--of heads of families. heads of households in each family. members of each household in each family. There was the proper swearing-in of Mr. Summers by the postmaster, as the official of the lottery; at one time, some people remembered, there had been a recital of some sort, performed by the official of the lottery, a perfunctory. tuneless chant that had been rattled off duly each year; some people believed that the official of the lottery used to stand just so when he said or sang it, others believed that he was supposed to walk among the people, but years and years ago this p3rt of the ritual had been allowed to lapse. There had been, also, a ritual salute, which the official of the lottery had had to use in addressing each person who came up to draw from the box, but this also had changed with time, until now it was felt necessary only for the official to speak to each person approaching. Mr. Summers was very good at all this; in his clean white shirt and blue jeans. with one hand resting carelessly on the black box. he seemed very proper and important as he talked interminably to Mr. Graves and the Martins.
Just as Mr. Summers finally left off talking and turned to the assembled villagers, Mrs. Hutchinson came hurriedly along the path to the square, her sweater thrown over her shoulders, and slid into place in the back of the crowd. 'Clean forgot what day it was,' she said to Mrs. Delacroix, who stood next to her, and they both laughed softly. 'Thought my old man was out back stacking wood,' Mrs. Hutchinson went on. 'and then I looked out the window and the kids was gone, and then I remembered it was the twenty-seventh and came a-running.' She dried her hands on her apron, and Mrs. Delacroix said, 'You're in time, though. They're still talking away up there.'
Mrs. Hutchinson craned her neck to see through the crowd and found her husband and children standing near the front. She tapped Mrs. Delacroix on the arm as a farewell and began to make her way through the crowd. The people separated good-humoredly to let her through: two or three people said. in voices just loud enough to be heard across the crowd, 'Here comes your, Missus, Hutchinson,' and 'Bill, she made it after all.' Mrs. Hutchinson reached her husband, and Mr. Summers, who had been waiting, said cheerfully. 'Thought we were going to have to get on without you, Tessie.' Mrs. Hutchinson said. grinning, 'Wouldn't have me leave m'dishes in the sink, now, would you. Joe?,' and soft laughter ran through the crowd as the people stirred back into position after Mrs. Hutchinson's arrival.
'Well, now.' Mr. Summers said soberly, 'guess we better get started, get this over with, so's we can go back to work. Anybody ain't here?'
'Dunbar.' several people said. 'Dunbar. Dunbar.'
Mr. Summers consulted his list. 'Clyde Dunbar.' he said. 'That's right. He's broke his leg, hasn't he? Who's drawing for him?'
'Me. I guess,' a woman said. and Mr. Summers turned to look at her. 'Wife draws for her husband.' Mr. Summers said. 'Don't you have a grown boy to do it for you, Janey?' Although Mr. Summers and everyone else in the village knew the answer perfectly well, it was the business of the official of the lottery to ask such questions formally. Mr. Summers waited with an expression of polite interest while Mrs. Dunbar answered.
'Horace's not but sixteen vet.' Mrs. Dunbar said regretfully. 'Guess I gotta fill in for the old man this year.'
'Right.' Sr. Summers said. He made a note on the list he was holding. Then he asked, 'Watson boy drawing this year?'
A tall boy in the crowd raised his hand. 'Here,' he said. 'I m drawing for my mother and me.' He blinked his eyes nervously and ducked his head as several voices in the crowd said thin#s like 'Good fellow, lack.' and 'Glad to see your mother's got a man to do it.'
'Well,' Mr. Summers said, 'guess that's everyone. Old Man Warner make it?'
'Here,' a voice said. and Mr. Summers nodded.
A sudden hush fell on the crowd as Mr. Summers cleared his throat and looked at the list. 'All ready?' he called. 'Now, I'll read the names--heads of families first--and the men come up and take a paper out of the box. Keep the paper folded in your hand without looking at it until everyone has had a turn. Everything clear?'
The people had done it so many times that they only half listened to the directions: most of them were quiet. wetting their lips. not looking around. Then Mr. Summers raised one hand high and said, 'Adams.' A man disengaged himself from the crowd and came forward. 'Hi. Steve.' Mr. Summers said. and Mr. Adams said. 'Hi. Joe.' They grinned at one another humorlessly and nervously. Then Mr. Adams reached into the black box and took out a folded paper. He held it firmly by one corner as he turned and went hastily back to his place in the crowd. where he stood a little apart from his family. not looking down at his hand.
'Allen.' Mr. Summers said. 'Anderson.... Bentham.'
'Seems like there's no time at all between lotteries any more.' Mrs. Delacroix said to Mrs. Graves in the back row.
'Seems like we got through with the last one only last week.'
'Time sure goes fast.-- Mrs. Graves said.
'Clark.... Delacroix'
'There goes my old man.' Mrs. Delacroix said. She held her breath while her husband went forward.
'Dunbar,' Mr. Summers said, and Mrs. Dunbar went steadily to the box while one of the women said. 'Go on. Janey,' and another said, 'There she goes.'
'We're next.' Mrs. Graves said. She watched while Mr. Graves came around from the side of the box, greeted Mr. Summers gravely and selected a slip of paper from the box. By now, all through the crowd there were men holding the small folded papers in their large hand. turning them over and over nervously Mrs. Dunbar and her two sons stood together, Mrs. Dunbar holding the slip of paper.
'Harburt.... Hutchinson.'
'Get up there, Bill,' Mrs. Hutchinson said. and the people near her laughed.
'Jones.'
'They do say,' Mr. Adams said to Old Man Warner, who stood next to him, 'that over in the north village they're talking of giving up the lottery.'
Old Man Warner snorted. 'Pack of crazy fools,' he said. 'Listening to the young folks, nothing's good enough for them. Next thing you know, they'll be wanting to go back to living in caves, nobody work any more, live hat way for a while. Used to be a saying about 'Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon.' First thing you know, we'd all be eating stewed chickweed and acorns. There's always been a lottery,' he added petulantly. 'Bad enough to see young Joe Summers up there joking with everybody.'
'Some places have already quit lotteries.' Mrs. Adams said.
'Nothing but trouble in that,' Old Man Warner said stoutly. 'Pack of young fools.'
'Martin.' And Bobby Martin watched his father go forward. 'Overdyke.... Percy.'
'I wish they'd hurry,' Mrs. Dunbar said to her older son. 'I wish they'd hurry.'
'They're almost through,' her son said.
'You get ready to run tell Dad,' Mrs. Dunbar said.
Mr. Summers called his own name and then stepped forward precisely and selected a slip from the box. Then he called, 'Warner.'
'Seventy-seventh year I been in the lottery,' Old Man Warner said as he went through the crowd. 'Seventy-seventh time.'
'Watson' The tall boy came awkwardly through the crowd. Someone said, 'Don't be nervous, Jack,' and Mr. Summers said, 'Take your time, son.'
'Zanini.'
After that, there was a long pause, a breathless pause, until Mr. Summers. holding his slip of paper in the air, said, 'All right, fellows.' For a minute, no one moved, and then all the slips of paper were opened. Suddenly, all the women began to speak at once, saving. 'Who is it?,' 'Who's got it?,' 'Is it the Dunbars?,' 'Is it the Watsons?' Then the voices began to say, 'It's Hutchinson. It's Bill,' 'Bill Hutchinson's got it.'
'Go tell your father,' Mrs. Dunbar said to her older son.
People began to look around to see the Hutchinsons. Bill Hutchinson was standing quiet, staring down at the paper in his hand. Suddenly. Tessie Hutchinson shouted to Mr. Summers. 'You didn't give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn't fair!'
'Be a good sport, Tessie.' Mrs. Delacroix called, and Mrs. Graves said, 'All of us took the same chance.'
'Shut up, Tessie,' Bill Hutchinson said.
'Well, everyone,' Mr. Summers said, 'that was done pretty fast, and now we've got to be hurrying a little more to get done in time.' He consulted his next list. 'Bill,' he said, 'you draw for the Hutchinson family. You got any other households in the Hutchinsons?'
'There's Don and Eva,' Mrs. Hutchinson yelled. 'Make them take their chance!'
'Daughters draw with their husbands' families, Tessie,' Mr. Summers said gently. 'You know that as well as anyone else.'
'It wasn't fair,' Tessie said.
'I guess not, Joe.' Bill Hutchinson said regretfully. 'My daughter draws with her husband's family; that's only fair. And I've got no other family except the kids.'
'Then, as far as drawing for families is concerned, it's you,' Mr. Summers said in explanation, 'and as far as drawing for households is concerned, that's you, too. Right?'
'Right,' Bill Hutchinson said.
'How many kids, Bill?' Mr. Summers asked formally.
'Three,' Bill Hutchinson said.
'There's Bill, Jr., and Nancy, and little Dave. And Tessie and me.'
'All right, then,' Mr. Summers said. 'Harry, you got their tickets back?'
Mr. Graves nodded and held up the slips of paper. 'Put them in the box, then,' Mr. Summers directed. 'Take Bill's and put it in.'
'I think we ought to start over,' Mrs. Hutchinson said, as quietly as she could. 'I tell you it wasn't fair. You didn't give him time enough to choose. Everybody saw that.'
Mr. Graves had selected the five slips and put them in the box. and he dropped all the papers but those onto the ground. where the breeze caught them and lifted them off.
'Listen, everybody,' Mrs. Hutchinson was saying to the people around her.
'Ready, Bill?' Mr. Summers asked. and Bill Hutchinson, with one quick glance around at his wife and children. nodded.
'Remember,' Mr. Summers said. 'take the slips and keep them folded until each person has taken one. Harry, you help little Dave.' Mr. Graves took the hand of the little boy, who came willingly with him up to the box. 'Take a paper out of the box, Davy.' Mr. Summers said. Davy put his hand into the box and laughed. 'Take just one paper.' Mr. Summers said. 'Harry, you hold it for him.' Mr. Graves took the child's hand and removed the folded paper from the tight fist and held it while little Dave stood next to him and looked up at him wonderingly.
'Nancy next,' Mr. Summers said. Nancy was twelve, and her school friends breathed heavily as she went forward switching her skirt, and took a slip daintily from the box 'Bill, Jr.,' Mr. Summers said, and Billy, his face red and his feet overlarge, near knocked the box over as he got a paper out. 'Tessie,' Mr. Summers said. She hesitated for a minute, looking around defiantly. and then set her lips and went up to the box. She snatched a paper out and held it behind her.
'Bill,' Mr. Summers said, and Bill Hutchinson reached into the box and felt around, bringing his hand out at last with the slip of paper in it.
The crowd was quiet. A girl whispered, 'I hope it's not Nancy,' and the sound of the whisper reached the edges of the crowd.
'It's not the way it used to be.' Old Man Warner said clearly. 'People ain't the way they used to be.'
'All right,' Mr. Summers said. 'Open the papers. Harry, you open little Dave's.'
Mr. Graves opened the slip of paper and there was a general sigh through the crowd as he held it up and everyone could see that it was blank. Nancy and Bill. Jr.. opened theirs at the same time. and both beamed and laughed. turning around to the crowd and holding their slips of paper above their heads.
'Tessie,' Mr. Summers said. There was a pause, and then Mr. Summers looked at Bill Hutchinson, and Bill unfolded his paper and showed it. It was blank.
'It's Tessie,' Mr. Summers said, and his voice was hushed. 'Show us her paper. Bill.'
Bill Hutchinson went over to his wife and forced the slip of paper out of her hand. It had a black spot on it, the black spot Mr. Summers had made the night before with the heavy pencil in the coal company office. Bill Hutchinson held it up, and there was a stir in the crowd.
'All right, folks.' Mr. Summers said. 'Let's finish quickly.'
Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones. The pile of stones the boys had made earlier was ready; there were stones on the ground with the blowing scraps of paper that had come out of the box Delacroix selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands and turned to Mrs. Dunbar. 'Come on,' she said. 'Hurry up.'
Mr. Dunbar had small stones in both hands, and she said. gasping for breath. 'I can't run at all. You'll have to go ahead and I'll catch up with you.'
The children had stones already. And someone gave little Davy Hutchinson few pebbles.
Tessie Hutchinson was in the center of a cleared space by now, and she held her hands out desperately as the villagers moved in on her. 'It isn't fair,' she said. A stone hit her on the side of the head. Old Man Warner was saying, 'Come on, come on, everyone.' Steve Adams was in the front of the crowd of villagers, with Mrs. Graves beside him.
'It isn't fair, it isn't right,' Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her.