Literary Analysis of the Lottery


Lottery is a form of gambling in which numbers are drawn for a prize. Its roots are in the Middle Ages, and its name derives from the Dutch word lot meaning “fate” or “chance”. The game has gained popularity since the 19th century and is now practiced by 44 states. Although some people argue that it has a negative impact on society, others point to its role in the development of the American economy. The lottery has also helped to fund educational institutions and public buildings, such as the Washington Monument. In addition, it provides a source of revenue for poor families. In many cases, the money won from a lottery can be used to pay off credit card debt or start an emergency savings account.

In Shirley Jackson’s short story, The Lottery, a woman named Tessie is stoned to death by her community because she was selected in the lottery. This is a symbol of the blind following of outdated traditions and rituals, even if they are harmful to people. The villagers in the story do not know why they hold this lottery and they have forgotten the reason for it being held in the first place.

There are a number of hidden symbols in the story. One of them is the black box that contains the stones. The other is the lottery ticket. Using literary analysis can help you to discover these symbols and understand the story better.

Another important theme in the story is hypocrisy. The villagers can be friendly and kind to their neighbors before the lottery, but as soon as they find out who won, they turn against them. This is an example of the hypocrisy that is prevalent in many cultures around the world.

Whether or not the lottery is ethical, it is a popular way to spend money. In the US alone, Americans spend over $80 billion each year on lotteries. Although this may be a small percentage of the overall population’s income, it is still a huge amount of money.

While many critics argue that the advertisements for the lottery are deceptive, others see it as a way to raise revenue for state governments. The advertisements present misleading information about the odds of winning and often inflate the value of the prizes. This may lead to some individuals making irrational decisions.

It is difficult to know what the true impact of the lottery is on society. However, it is likely that the monetary gains from winning are offset by the cost of running the lottery. Despite this, some people may still decide to play, especially if the entertainment value is high enough. This may be because the disutility of a monetary loss is outweighed by the benefit of the non-monetary gain. This is a common argument made by proponents of the lottery. However, it is important to note that this type of advertising can have negative consequences for those with low incomes and problem gamblers.