"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson

Essay by rahimabadUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, August 2004

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In her story "The Lottery," Shirley Jackson tells the story of evil blind rituals of a society in a small village. Villagers gather together in the central square for the annual lottery. There is much excitement and interest as the rituals of the event proceeds. Mr. Summers has a small box where small pieces of paper are folded and stored. The box is placed in a specific place. In the first round, the names of heads of families are called one at a time to come up and get a piece of paper. When all of the families have come up and taken a folded piece of paper, then they can look at their paper. Only one piece of paper has a black mark on it, which represents death. Hutchinson's family wins the lottery. In the second round, members of the Hutchinson's family come up and take a folded piece of paper.

Mrs. Hutchinson becomes the victim of the lottery. Mrs. Hutchinson is then stoned by the villagers, along with her family members. "The Lottery," by Shirley Jackson, explores mankind's evil nature hiding behind traditions and rituals.

The village's most powerful man, Mr. Summers owns a coal company and has more "time and energy to devote to civic activities" (474) than others. Mr. Summers is a complex character who wants to replace the black box and use paper instead of "chips of woods" (475). Mr. Summers is a lottery official, sworn in yearly by Mr. Graves. He is very responsible and authoritative in conducting the lottery. "His clean white shirt and blue jeans" (475) represents his strong and bold personality. Mr. Graves, the postmaster, helps Mr. Summers make up the lottery slips. He seems to be an aggressive man as he "removed the folded paper from the tight fist"...