The Lottery PDF - Overview
The Lottery is a short story written by Shirley Jackson, first published in the June 26, 1948, issue of The New Yorker. The story describes a fictional small town which observes an annual tradition known as it, In which a member of the community is selected by chance and stoned. The preparations for and execution of the lottery are both described in detail.
Reader’s of The Lottery initial negative response surprised both Jackson and The New Yorker; subscriptions were canceled, and much hate mail was received throughout the summer of its first publication, while the Union of South Africa banned the story. The story has been dramatized several times, including as a radio drama, film, and graphic novel. It has been subjected to considerable sociological and literary analysis, and has been described as one of the most famous short stories in the history of American literature.
Plot of The Lottery
Details of contemporary small-town American life are embroidered upon a description of an annual ritual known as “the lottery”. In a small village of about 300 residents, the locals are in an excited yet nervous mood on June 27. Children pile up stones as the adult townsfolk assemble for their annual event, which in the local tradition is apparently practiced to ensure a good harvest. However, some other villages have already discontinued the lottery, and rumors are spreading that a village farther north is considering doing likewise.
The lottery preparations start the night before, with coal merchant Mr. Summers and postmaster Mr. Graves drawing up a list of all the extended families in town and preparing a set of paper slips, one per family. All are blank except one, later revealed to be marked with a black dot. The slips are folded and placed in a black wooden box, which in turn is stored in a safe at Mr. Summers’ office until the lottery is scheduled to begin.
Upon the morning of the lottery, the townspeople gather shortly before 10 a.m. in order to have everything done in time for lunch. First, the heads of the extended families each draw one slip from the box, but they wait to unfold them until all the slips have been drawn. Bill Hutchinson gets the marked slip, meaning that his family has been chosen. His wife, Tessie, protests that Mr. Summers rushed him through the drawing, but the other townspeople dismiss her complaint. Since the Hutchinson family consists of only one household, a second drawing to choose one household within the family is skipped.
For the final drawing, one slip is placed in the box for each member of the household: Bill, Tessie, and each of their three children. Each of the five draws a slip, and Tessie gets the marked one. The townspeople pick up the gathered stones and begin throwing them at her as she screams about the injustice of the lottery.