The Lottery by Shirley Jackson


The term lottery is generally used to describe a game of chance, where participants purchase tickets or entries for a chance to win a prize. It is a popular form of entertainment, and many people play the lottery for fun or as a way to try and improve their financial situation. The lottery is also used to raise funds for various public projects, such as paving streets, constructing wharves, and building churches. It is a common part of the culture in many countries and has even been incorporated into sports.

In The Lottery, Shirley Jackson uses the lottery as a means of criticizing the village’s society and demonstrating hypocrisy among the townspeople. The villagers seem to be blinded by tradition and ritual, even though they know that this lottery is wrong. They do not have the strength to speak out and stand against what they know is wrong. This is a reflection of how people in general tend to follow outdated traditions and customs without questioning their validity.

Another theme that can be found in this story is the issue of family. Although the villagers do not seem to have strong bonds with one another, they still feel a sense of loyalty towards their families. However, this loyalty is only in terms of self-preservation. The villagers show this by not helping Tessie Hutchinson, who was about to draw the unfortunate ticket and be stoned to death. This is an example of how people can lack any real emotional bond with one another and only care about themselves.

Although the word “lottery” is usually associated with gambling, it has been around for a long time. It was popular in the Roman Empire (Nero was a fan), and is attested to in the Bible, where the casting of lots is used for everything from choosing kings to determining who will keep Jesus’ garments after his crucifixion. During the American Revolution, lottery games were used to finance various projects, including paving streets and constructing wharves. In the nineteenth century, state-run lotteries became more popular. Many white voters supported legalizing the lottery, arguing that since people were going to gamble anyway, the government might as well pocket the profits. But these arguments had little resonance with black voters, who feared that the new lottery would subsidize services they felt should be provided by local governments, such as subsidized housing and kindergarten placements at reputable public schools. In addition, some black voters were worried that the lottery might be used to fund drug trafficking. These concerns were ultimately ignored, and the lottery was embraced by the nation. Currently, 37 states operate lotteries. Several other states do not, citing ethical or moral objections.