A Novel About the Lottery

A lottery is a system of awarding prizes by chance. Prizes may be cash or goods. Some lotteries are run by governments and others by private companies. Many states have adopted a lottery to raise funds for government programs. The lottery has also been used to raise money for a wide variety of projects, including paving streets and building schools.

Despite the fact that most people do not win large amounts of money, most people continue to buy lottery tickets. Whether they believe that their chances of winning are good or bad, they purchase tickets to enjoy the fantasy of a big check and being able to say, “I won!”

The story of this novel takes place in an unnamed village during a single day. The narrator begins by establishing the bucolic setting and describing the general activity of the villagers. Children and then adult men and women begin to assemble in the town square. They display the stereotypical normality of small-town life and behave in the same way they would in a family gathering. They greet each other warmly and exchange bits of gossip.

At some point during the gathering, Mrs. Delacroix selects a stone from a pile that the children had prepared earlier. It is so large that it requires both hands to hold. She then places it in the middle of the group. Everyone then prepares to open their slips, and a collective sigh is let out as little Dave, Bill, and Nancy all find their numbers to be blank.

After this, Mr. Summers calls the name of Tessie. She is so surprised that she does not know what to do. She tries to explain that she did not have a number, but the villagers pelt her with stones. Tessie cries and asks them to stop, but the villagers continue to throw the stones at her.

Jackson demonstrates the hypocrisy and evil nature of the villagers in this narrative. Even though the lottery has been a regular part of their lives, they do not seem to understand that it has done them no good. The names of the villagers, such as Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves, show the wickedness of ordinary villagers who can easily be deceived by such schemes. The events of the lottery also indicate that human beings are capable of great cruelty.