The Lottery by Shirley Jackson


A lottery is a game of chance in which people pay for a ticket with numbers on it in order to win a prize. Typically, the winning numbers are chosen at random. Lotteries have a long history and are a popular form of gambling, as well as a way to raise money for public purposes. They can also be used for decision-making situations, such as sports team drafts or allocation of scarce medical treatment. In the United States, state governments run lotteries.

Shirley Jackson’s short story The Lottery takes place in a small village where traditions and customs dominate the population. It is a very powerful tale that shows how humans can do terrible things to one another. It is also an excellent example of blind following of tradition and how that can lead to horrible outcomes.

The story opens with a meeting of the village leaders who are planning the lottery. They plan a set number of tickets, one per family. They also plan to draw the numbers on a piece of paper. Then they will fold the paper and put it in a box. The first name drawn will be the winner. The other names will be used to pick the other prizes. The children and family members of the winner will be given food, clothing, or other items. The villagers all participate in this event because it is a tradition. Despite the fact that this is a horrible thing to do they are all afraid to speak out against it.

Tessie seems to be the only person in the village who can see what is wrong with this practice. She tries to tell others about it, but they are afraid to listen to her. She is a very strong character, and her actions show this. She is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in, even if it will cost her everything.

There are many symbols in The Lottery, both obvious and not so obvious. Some of the most obvious are the black box and the stones. However, it is possible to find a lot more by doing a little literary analysis. The characters themselves are also important symbols in the story. They represent different aspects of the villagers’ personalities. For example, Mrs. Delacroix is a determined woman, which is expressed by her picking up the big stone in frustration.

Lottery is a form of gambling, and it can be addictive. It is important to remember that the odds of winning are very slim. It is better to spend your money on something else, such as an emergency fund or paying down credit card debt. In addition, the taxes on winnings can be astronomical. In the US, a $600 million jackpot would actually net you only about $377 million after taxes. Moreover, most Americans who win the lottery end up bankrupt in a few years. So be wise about your money and don’t gamble on the lottery!