The Lottery by Shirley Jackson


A lottery is a form of gambling whereby people pay money to have the chance of winning something. Lotteries are governed by law and may be run by state governments or private organizations. They can be used to award anything from prizes in sports events to housing units in subsidized apartment complexes to kindergarten placements at a reputable public school. The most common type of lottery is the financial lottery, where participants buy tickets for a small amount of money and win big amounts of cash if their numbers match those randomly selected by machines. The game is similar to gambling in that the chances of winning are very low and there are some risks associated with it.

Several themes are addressed in the short story The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. Most prominently, the author criticizes the blind following of outdated traditions and rituals. For instance, Old Man Warner tries to convince the villagers that human sacrifice will lead to better corn growth. This is an attempt to justify a tradition that is no longer practical or moral.

In addition, the villagers are shown to be hypocrites and evil in nature. They greet each other and exchange bits of gossip while “manhandling each other without a flinch of sympathy.” They also believe that the lottery is beneficial to them in some way. The fact that they are not willing to stop the practice of the lottery shows their hypocrisy and evil nature.

Another theme that is explored in The Lottery is parenting and scapegoating. The villagers use the lottery as a method of avoiding responsibility for their actions and mistakes. Moreover, they have a faulty view of parenting. They are not capable of correcting their children’s mistakes and are unable to discipline them effectively. The villagers also practice scapegoating by targeting the weaker members of their community.

The Lottery is a great read for anyone interested in learning about the psychology of behavior. The author uses a variety of characterization methods to develop her characters. The setting of the story is also very effective in defining the characters and their personalities. In this manner, The Lottery is a good example of how to use characterization and setting in an essay.

The odds of winning the lottery are very low, so you should never bet more than you can afford to lose. If you want to improve your odds, try buying multiple tickets and studying their numbers. This will give you a much better idea of the likelihood that your number will be drawn. Also, look for patterns in the numbers that have won before.