Shirley Jackson's The Lottery, a story set in a small town (population 300) just prior to the harvest, remains just as haunting to me now, as what it did when I first read the story as a teenager. The suspense builds as the members of the town gather for the annual ritual, with some details being slowly, and carefully, revealed to the readers, as the lottery is drawn, with the protesting Tessie Hutchinson eventually being declared the winner. Or loser, perhaps, given her eventual fate of being stoned to death, with the other townsfolk uncaring to her cries of this being unfair. The story speaks volumes about conformity and the dangers of blindly following superstitions and rituals simply because they are tradition.
The story is cruel but an important one. Recommended.