The Lottery in Jackson’s Theme

A lottery is any arrangement where a prize, often money, is allocated by chance. The term is derived from the Latin lotere “to throw or draw lots,” or, more precisely, the act of throwing lots (see the article on probability). The first recorded public lotteries took place in the Low Countries in the 15th century, as evidenced by town records from Ghent, Bruges, and Utrecht. They were used to raise money for town fortifications and to help the poor.

State lotteries typically start with a legislative monopoly for themselves; establish a public corporation or agency to run the operation; begin with a small number of relatively simple games; and, due to constant pressures for increased revenues, progressively expand their scope by adding new games. These expansions are usually motivated by the desire to boost ticket sales and the overall size of the prizes.

Although the story The Lottery focuses on traditional gender roles in society, it is clear that Jackson condemns humankind’s hypocrisy and evil-nature. This is primarily seen in the way that the villagers greet each other and exchange bits of gossip while simultaneously manhandling one another with a stoic attitude.

Moreover, the plot indicates that the villagers believe that they are doing right by the tradition of the lottery. However, Jackson also portrays the fact that nothing of value is gained from the lottery. Neither the odds of winning increase when people play more frequently, nor do they decrease as a result of buying more tickets for each drawing.