The Lottery by Shirley Jackson


A lottery is a procedure for distributing something, usually money or prizes, among a group of people by chance. People purchase tickets, called tickets of entry, in order to have a chance of winning. The tickets of entry are drawn from a pool that is made up of all the tickets sold (sweepstakes) or offered for sale. The prize money may be either cash or goods. People often gamble in lotteries, but the gamble is not without risk. People who win the lottery can go bankrupt within a few years if they don’t properly manage their finances or have an emergency savings account. Billboards advertising the Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots are a constant reminder that people can become very rich very quickly with a small investment in a ticket.

A lot of people play the lottery because they like to gamble. Some of them are just very poor, and the lottery is one way for them to try to change their luck and get out of their dire financial situations. Others play the lottery because they believe it is a meritocratic process that will eventually reward them with wealth for their hard work and effort. These people tend to ignore the fact that their odds of winning are very low and should not be treated like a serious investment.

The short story, “The Lottery,” tells the tale of a family, Bill and Tessie, who are taking part in a town lottery to raise funds for a new barn. When the winners are chosen, Bill is the first to draw, but Tessie’s slip is marked. The townspeople begin stoning her to death, and it is implied that the lottery is not really random after all.

Jackson uses several methods of characterization in the short story to help us understand the characters and their motivations. The first method is by examining their actions and the setting. For example, when she says that the children assembled first, Jackson suggests that they are the most innocent members of the town. In addition, her use of the word “of course” implies that this has always been the case.

Another method of characterization is to examine the tone of the story. The tone of the story is dark and foreboding, which is a sign that something is very wrong in this town. Jackson also utilizes irony in the story, which is another way to create an unnerving atmosphere for the reader.

The narrator of the story is also very empathetic to Tessie’s plight. She is disgusted by the cruelty and brutality of the townspeople, and she feels that it is unfair that Tessie was selected as the winner.

Although many people enjoy playing the lottery, they should not treat it as a legitimate form of investing or saving. The odds of winning are extremely low, and those who do win face huge tax implications if they don’t handle their money wisely. In addition, they must consider how much money they can give away before it becomes subject to a gift tax.

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