The Lottery

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate December 2001

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In most respects, a lottery is a contest of luck where someone wins something favorable. In "The Lottery"� the winner of the drawing is stoned to death. The story begins in a small, quaint village where the inhabitants have gathered for some sort of a gathering or celebration. Throughout the story, the reader begins to grasp the horror behind the seemingly innocent gathering.

The story examines civilizations uses of tradition and violence. In the beginning of the story, the town's inhabitants gather in the square and begin talking and carrying on. As the story progresses the town's purpose for assembling is revealed. A drawing is carried out and the winner is to be the sacrifice.

The lottery itself is symbolic of the contradiction between compassion and the craving for violence and cruelty. An example of this is when the children are pulled away from playing at school to join the adults in stoning a mother to death.

The town's tradition has blinded the citizens' compassion and rational thinking. None of the citizens question the tradition or its origin; they just believe that the sacrifice must be carried out in order for the town to survive. The only person that questions the ritual is the chosen one for the sacrifice. The mother does not question the ritual itself, but why she has to be the one who dies, which is a contradiction in itself.