The Lottery by Shirley Jackson


A lottery is a game in which participants are randomly selected to receive prizes, typically money. Prizes may also be awarded in the form of goods or services. These games can take many forms, from free admission to a public event to scholarships for high school students. Some states even run lotteries to decide kindergarten admissions or to occupy units in a subsidized housing block. Some people believe that lottery is a good way to distribute scarce resources, while others oppose the concept.

In The Lottery, Shirley Jackson raises important issues about human nature and tradition. She uses the lottery as a means to show that human beings are capable of cruel and evil actions despite their outward appearance. The story portrays a family that lacks loyalty or emotional bonds. The plot points to the fact that people often condone the evils of their culture without any consideration for their negative impact on others.

The first issue that Jackson raises in the story is the role of tradition. It is evident in the way that Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves talk about the lottery. They mention that the lottery has been an ongoing tradition for a long time. In addition, they quote Old Man Warner and his saying that if the lottery is held in June, corn will be heavy soon. This implies that the current generation has no real connection to the reason why the lottery was started in the first place.

Another theme that Jackson develops is the idea of inequality. The story points to the fact that some people are treated unfairly due to their socioeconomic status, while others are not. This is evident in the way that the members of the Hutchinson family treat Tessie. The fact that they ignore her feelings shows that they do not value her as a person. This is a sign of inequality, which can be seen in the way that gender roles are played out in this society.

A second element that is common to all lotteries is the drawing, which determines the winners of the prize. The tickets or symbols must be thoroughly mixed before the drawing, which is usually done by shaking or tossing. The drawing is done to ensure that chance plays an important part in determining the winning ticket. In the past, this process was performed manually, but now it is usually automated with computers.

Although the lottery has some positive aspects, it is not a solution to social problems. It is not fair to everyone and leads to resentment among some groups of people. It also takes away people’s ability to choose their own careers and lifestyles. This is why it is important to avoid using it for charitable purposes. In addition, people should try to find other ways to support charity. It is best to do research about the lottery before deciding to play it. This will help to avoid any misunderstandings. In addition, it is advisable to avoid buying tickets from unreliable sources.