The Haunting of Hill House is a supernatural novel about four people who come together to spend a week in a haunted house. Eleanor, a timid woman who has spent most of her life caring for her unpleasant mother, feels free for the first time in years, and is both scared and enamored of the house. The novel explores the themes of nature, sexuality, and sanity, and uses an unreliable narrator to play with the reader's perception of reality.
The Lottery is a short story which recounts the day when a small community gathers for the town lottery. It focuses specifically on Tessie Hutchinson, who arrives late to the lottery ends up drawing a black dot. Full of anticipation and foreshadowing, the story ends when the reader discovers that the person who "wins" the lottery is violently killed by the others in town, and ultimately questions the dangers of blindly following tradition.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle is the surreal story of teenage Merricat and her older sister Constance, who live with their aging uncle in a mansion on the outskirts of a small town. Years earlier, the rest of their family was poisoned, and most people think Constance is responsible; consequently, the sisters are shunned and do their best to avoid society. However, when their cousin Charles comes to town, Merricat fears that everything may change. This novel explores the themes of family, isolation, and otherness.
The Lottery and Other Stories is a collection that intermingles science fiction and fantasy with stories of the ordinary world and the prejudice that occurs therein. The book deals with racism, sexism, and the smothering confines of life for women in the mid-20th century; it also examines the horrors of post-WWII society. In the titular story, for example, a seemingly normal village quickly turns to vicious violence in the name of tradition and propriety. This collection examines the absurdity of modern life and the darkness that dwells within ordinary people.