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A Short Story About the Lottery

A Short Story About the Lottery


The lottery is a form of gambling in which people buy chances to win a prize, typically money. The winner is chosen by chance, either randomly or by a draw of lots. Lottery proceeds are often used to fund public works projects, such as road construction and paving, and to provide scholarships. It is also a common way to raise funds for religious institutions and charitable organizations. Lottery is a popular activity for many people around the world. It has been estimated that Americans spend more than $80 billion on tickets each year. Some experts recommend avoiding the game altogether or playing it only in moderation.

The word lottery is derived from the Latin phrase loterium, meaning drawing of lots. The practice of distributing property by lot is ancient and widespread, and has a long history in human societies. It has been used in wartime conscription, commercial promotions in which property is given away by random procedure, and the selection of jury members from lists of registered voters. Modern lotteries, such as the National Lottery in Britain, are regulated by law and have a reputation for being relatively free of abuse.

Although the narrator of this story focuses on the murder aspect of the lottery, it also reveals the general character of the local village. The town is small enough that everyone knows each other. The villagers are social, participating in square dances and teenage clubs as well as the lottery. The lottery, like the other civic activities, is conducted by Mr. Summers and his associate, Mr. Graves.

There are many characterization methods in this short story, but one of the most prominent is Tessie’s rebellion to the entire event. She arrives late to the lottery, a simple faux pas that signals her resistance to all of the event’s underlying principles. Tessie’s characterization is completed by her actions, particularly the way she picks up a large rock with two hands.

Another interesting characterization method in this story is the narrator’s reaction to the news of the winning number. Unlike the narrator, who is indifferent to the result, the other townspeople are ecstatic and celebrate. This is a clear indication that they are more interested in the prestige and power of winning the lottery than in the actual amount of the prize. It is worth mentioning that there is no set of numbers that is luckier than any other. This is due to the fact that the lottery is a game of chance, and no numbers are “due” to come up more than others. The numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 are all equally likely to win. This is true whether you play for years or just a few minutes. Also, the odds of winning do not get better over time. This is another aspect of the game that the narrator finds absurd.