Central Idea: “The Lottery”
In “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, Mrs. Jackson tells a story about any small town U.S.A. where they follow through with their traditions, no matter how bizarre they can be. In this town, every June 27th their town gets together and hosts “The Lottery” where there is one winner (or in this case the loser.) At the beginning, all the children are wandering around the town picking up rocks and creating piles in the square. Over time, the whole town begins to gather in the square to begin the ceremony. Mr. Summers, the M.C. at the ceremony brings out a large black box full of blank sheets of paper with a single black dot on one. The men of the family come up one by one in alphabetical order drawing a single sheet of paper and wait until the rest of the families have drawn to look at their sheet. Mr. Hutchinson ends up drawing the sheet of paper with the dot which causes Tessie, his wife, to become outraged saying they did not give her husband enough time with his drawings. Finally Tessie calms down and lets them proceed with the ceremony. The Hutchinson family then draws from the box individually to determine who in their family wins the lottery. Tessie ends up “winning” and ends up getting stoned to death.
In “The Lottery,” the author believes that doing anything can have severe consequences and can cause even death. “’You didn’t give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn’t fair’” (Jackson 566). Mrs. Hutchinson is yelling at Mr. Summers due to him supposedly rushing her husband at his drawing of the sheet of paper. According to Mrs. Hutchinson, she believes that it’s all the fault of Mr. Summers for it being her turn to be stoned to death for rushing her husband at the drawing.
Jackson, Shirley. “The Lottery.” Short Fiction: Classic and Contemporary. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2006. 562-567. Print
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