What is a Lottery?



A lottery is a game in which numbers or symbols are drawn at random to determine winners. It was a popular pastime during the Roman Empire, where prizes were often extravagant, and is mentioned in the Bible as being used for everything from selecting a king to deciding who gets Jesus’ garments after his crucifixion. In modern times, most state-run lotteries are organized to raise money for public works, although some people play the lottery just to try their hand at winning a prize.

The villagers in this story demonstrate an evil, cruel nature and they do not seem to care about the negative impacts of their actions. They are willing to condone violence as long as it is in compliance with tradition. The short story shows how oppressive traditions can be and the gruesome death of Mrs. Hutchinson is evidence of this.

A man named Mr. Summers holds a black box and stirs up the papers inside. He is a symbol of authority in the village and it is not clear whether the townspeople are aware of what the lottery is for or why they participate. This lack of information about the lottery reveals the deception that many people have about the purpose of this activity. Many Americans spend $80 billion a year on the lottery, and it is a form of gambling that is largely driven by economic fluctuation. As wages have stagnated, the gap between rich and poor has widened, health-care costs and unemployment have increased, and the promise that education and hard work will pay off has become less realistic for most Americans.