A Review of Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery


A lottery is a form of gambling in which people pay to enter a drawing in which a single winner is selected at random. The winners are usually awarded a prize ranging from small cash sums to large jackpots. A number of states, as well as many private organizations, organize lotteries to raise money for a variety of public projects and charitable causes. Some state governments have even legalized the activity. Lottery tickets are sold at a variety of outlets including convenience stores, gas stations, restaurants and bars, nonprofit organizations, bowling alleys, and newsstands.

The central theme of the story The Lottery,’ is blind obedience to outdated traditions and customs that can be harmful or even deadly. Shirley Jackson’s writing illustrates how ordinary individuals can become perpetrators of violence simply because they follow a tradition without questioning its validity or underlying injustice or cruelty. The setting in which the story is set underscores this concept by illustrating the hidden darkness lurking beneath peaceful exteriors and seemingly innocent citizens.

Family is another key theme in the story The Lottery,’ which underscores how an individual’s immediate family members can disregard his or her personal safety and self-preservation for the sake of tradition. In the case of Tessie Hutchinson, her family members show little loyalty to her, even after she has been chosen in the lottery and is about to be stoned to death. This attitude highlights how families can become a source of dysfunction and stress in a person’s life.

The term “lottery” derives from the Dutch word lot, meaning fate. In the Middle Ages, the drawing of lots was used to determine ownership and other rights, such as religious offices and judicial roles. During this period, many European countries had national or local lotteries to fund municipal and other public works projects.

In modern times, lotteries are primarily run by state and federal governments. The basic requirements of a lottery are that there must be a method of recording bettors’ identities, the amounts they stake and the numbers or symbols on which they are betting. These tickets are then entered into a pool for shuffling and selection. A portion of the pool is deducted for costs and profits, while the remaining amount is available to winners.

The stoning of Tessie Hutchinson illustrates the destructive power of mob mentality. Her story prompts readers to evaluate their own societies’ beliefs and practices critically in order to promote a more nuanced understanding of the complexities inherent within cultural traditions. By cultivating a greater awareness of the ways in which tradition can serve to oppress or marginalize people, the story encourages readers to actively challenge harmful rituals in order to create a more inclusive culture. The first lottery in the United States was organized by Jamestown in 1612. Since then, more than thirty states have established lotteries. Lottery revenue is used to support local and state government services as well as education. Lottery profits also provide a source of income for private organizations and corporations that sponsor the games.