A Review of Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery


A lottery is a procedure for distributing money or prizes to individuals based on chance. Its origins are unclear, but it is thought to date back to ancient times. It was also used in medieval Europe and America to fund public works and civic projects, despite strong Protestant opposition to gambling. In modern times, state-sponsored lotteries raise funds for schools, medical research, public works, and a wide range of other purposes. It is one of the world’s most popular forms of entertainment.

Shirley Jackson’s short story, The Lottery, depicts a small-town American village where the custom of holding an annual lottery is still practiced. The villagers believe that the event will bring them good fortune. Despite the fact that they have no evidence to support this belief, they continue with their annual ritual of buying tickets.

Throughout the story, Jackson uses different characterization methods to reveal the nature of the villagers. Her descriptions of their behavior and actions show that they are irrational, evil, and hypocritical. Their deceitful nature is highlighted when the villagers greet each other and exchange bits of gossip, handling each other without a hint of suspicion or resentment.

Jackson’s use of characterization is heightened by her use of the setting in her story. The story takes place in a rural village, where traditions and customs dominate the people’s lives. The villagers’ behavior and attitudes are in stark contrast to the beauty of the surroundings.

The villagers in the story are not only selfish and greedy, but they also lack any sense of morality. This is illustrated by the way in which they treat each other and how they act when they buy lottery tickets. They disregard the moral ramifications of their actions and the impact it will have on their families. The villagers also ignore the fact that they are being duped into supporting a system that will destroy their family unity and economic security.

In her short story, Jackson also portrays the absurdity of the entire lottery arrangement. Although the lottery is a form of taxation, it is not viewed as such by its supporters. They view it as a necessary tool for raising revenue and reducing taxes for the working class. This belief was especially prevalent in the immediate post-World War II period, when states were introducing more social services and expanding their budgets.

However, the underlying message that is conveyed in this short story is that the lottery does not really do much to benefit society. Rather, it is an elaborate scam that gives the illusion that people are doing their civic duty by supporting the lottery. This is similar to the message that is being conveyed in current sports betting advertisements, stating that people are doing their civic duty by purchasing sports bets. In actuality, this type of gambling has the potential to do more harm than good in society. It undermines the trust between families and erodes social cohesion. It is also a major cause of the rising epidemic of gambling addiction.