I have had for so many years a consuming interest in magic and the supernatural. I think this is because I find there so convenient a shorthand statement of the possibilities of human adjustment to what seems to be at best an inhuman world.Jackson's sense that she was living in an inhuman world was only heightened by the events of World War II. Her most famous story, "The Lottery," does not include any magic, yet it is impossible to read this piece without recognizing that some familiar cruelty, some dark force at work within the villagers. Furthermore, it is clear that Jackson drew some of her inspiration for the quaint, bucolic village depicted in "The Lottery" from her own life in Bennington. Oppenheimer even suggests that the stoning at the end of the tale may be allegorical for the anti-Semitism Jackson felt in Bennington. While she was not Jewish, her husband, Stanley Hymen, was. One of Jackson's close friends once explained that the possibility of anti-Semitism in their small community bothered her enormously. Even in the picturesque small town, Jackson felt the dark painful undercurrents of prejudice. But prejudice, like all other human evils, can be found anywhere. Just because Jackson felt it more strongly in the Vermont town does not mean that Bennington is at all unique. Yet Jackson felt that there was something special about this place, something that made it infinitely appealing to the writer in her but appalling to the humanist. Leaving Bennington, there was only one thing I knew for certain: this place had inspired Jackson, shaped her views and molded her writing. Without the hills of rural Vermont, Merricat may never have come into being, and "The Lottery" would have remained unwritten.
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