The Lottery Example Essays

The Lottery

The lottery is a gambling game that focuses on chance. People who buy a lottery ticket do so with the hope that they will win a prize. Part of the profit made from the sales of lottery tickets is used to award those who win the lottery while the other part is used to pay for the costs of administration. The money that is left after both of those aspects have been paid is profit. Lotteries are legal in many countries and remain a popular pastime that brings with it a great deal of profit for any country.

In America, lotteries are operated throughout the state governments and there are no commercial lotteries allowed to compete against the state run lottery. The profits from the lotteries in each state are used to fund government programs. Lottery tickets can be purchased legally by any adult who is physically present in the state where the lottery is being held, regardless of whether or not they live in that state.

Historically, the lottery was conducted as a way to finance construction in early America. It also helped to pay for cannons which were used during the American Revolution. They were viewed as harmful to the general public by the 1820’s and soon fell into disfavor. It was the state of New York who was first to pass a prohibition against lotteries. The southern states still relied upon them to help finance reconstruction, and that made the Louisiana lottery one of the most popular ways to increase revenue. At the time, the Louisiana lottery winners did not have to pay taxes on their winnings, something which made it even more enticing. The prohibition period brought a great deal of negative feelings related to the lottery, feelings which were not reversed until the 1960’s and the New Hampshire lottery development.

Today it remains a popular past time, one which is popular throughout nearly every state. In America State lotteries burn up to 9% of the incomes that households take home each year. They're able to siphon over $50 billion per year from local businesses. State lotteries were once illegal but today exist in almost every state. What many people don't understand about the lottery is that in the United States there is not a single, large, federal lottery, but rather, multiple state lotteries, each of which bring in different amounts of profit for the state itself.




From the beginning of the civilization on earth, people have many different superstitions, or beliefs about life. People believe if they were to do certain things, they would have good luck. Some of these superstitions go on for such long periods of time and people do them so often that they become traditions or rituals. Also, people who conform to old rituals and traditions often lose their minds and commit vicious actions against others out of tradition. For instance, some Hindu communities used to immolate a virgin to satisfy Goddess Kali from their beliefs that this sacrifice would bring luck and prosperity for them. In her short story, "The Lottery", Shirley Jackson is trying to point out that kind of evidences which people do in the name of tradition or ritual by describing a small town where the people have been taught to believe that in order for their crop to be abundant for the year, some individual have to be sacrificed.

The ritualistic characteristics of the lottery reveal through evidences like town people’s commentary on the traditional and modern ways of holding the lottery as well as observation of this gear’s proceedings. In the very beginning of the story, we see people of a small town gathers in the central square on June 27th to celebrate the annual lottery, right before the crop season. Among them there is much excitement and interest as the rituals of the event proceed. Every year the villagers take each persons name, make them to draw slips of paper from the black box. The person, who gets the paper with the mark on in, wins the lottery and gets stoned to death. They justify this dangerous ritual from the belief that “Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon” which means if they have a lottery before cropping season they will have a good season. This is one of those beliefs, or superstitions, they have that makes to think that their luck is going to become good.

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According to old man Warner, who has been attending the lottery for seventy-seven years, villagers would be ‘crazy’ to give up the lottery. When Mr. Adam told old man Warner that the north village was talking about giving up the lottery, old man Warner snorted, “Pack of crazy fools. Listening to young folks, nothing’s good for them.” He then warned the villagers that their work ethics would be destroyed as soon as they gave up the lottery. He commented negative about the people who were talking to give up the lottery that “next thing you know, they'll be wanting to go back to living in caves, nobody work any more, live that way for a while”. Thus, the belief of disrupting the corn season by giving up the lottery and the fear of getting chosen for the lottery made the people of the town to destroy each other instead of working together to destroy the tradition.

As Tessie Hutchinson is getting stoned, someone from her community puts a stone in her son's hand. Even the closest family member participates in the horror. "The children had stones already, and someone gave little Davey Hutchinson a few pebbles." (Jackson, The Lottery page 297) This action shows how tradition is being passed on literally from generation to generation. This stoning is the way that the people of the community act out their fear of being singled out, separated from the herd, being the one stoned. In other words, the tradition is so powerful and it has existed so long that no one will challenge it because they fear to change.


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