The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

The lottery is a game in which people purchase tickets for a chance to win a prize. The prizes are usually money or goods, and the winning numbers are drawn at random by machines. In addition, a large number of states offer lotteries to raise funds for public projects. Some critics see this as a form of hidden tax, but others believe that the public benefits outweigh the negative consequences.

While the casting of lots for decisions and fates has a long history (including several instances in the Bible), the lottery as an activity devoted to material gain is of relatively recent origin. The first recorded public lottery was organized in Roman times to pay for municipal repairs, while the earliest lottery to distribute prize money was held in 1466 in Bruges, Belgium. Since the Revolutionary War, state governments have relied on lotteries to finance numerous public projects.

Despite the fact that it is a game of chance, many individuals rationally choose to play the lottery because of its entertainment value. A small percentage of those playing the lottery also believe that a non-monetary gain is also likely, and thus would outweigh a smaller probability of loss. In fact, the lottery is one of the few activities that is legal for most individuals to participate in without breaking the law.

One theme that Shirley Jackson develops in The Lottery is the role of tradition. A man named Old Man Warner is a conservative force in the story, and he uses the adage that “Lottery in June, corn will be heavy soon.” His actions reveal that he feels very strongly about the importance of following traditions.

Another important theme in the story is family. In the end, Mrs. Hutchinson’s family shows no loyalty to her, which is a very sad way to end the short story. The lottery demonstrates that families are not always as close as they seem.

While there are many themes that Shirley Jackson develops in The Lottery, she is mainly expressing the evil that can occur in small, seemingly peaceful looking places. She is arguing that we should not let ourselves be brainwashed by our cultures and traditions, as they often lead us to do evil things.

There are a few other interesting aspects of this short story that should be discussed. First, it is interesting that lottery games tend to be most popular in middle-income neighborhoods. This is a strange phenomenon, given that they are often considered to be a form of gambling and most gamblers come from lower-income areas. This suggests that middle-income individuals have a higher tolerance for risk, and are more willing to spend money on a game of chance than people from lower income levels. In addition, middle-income people also have a better understanding of the risks involved in gambling, and are therefore more likely to be rational about it.