Summary of “the Lottery” by Shirley Jackson

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“The Lottery” is a short story written by a woman named Shirley Jackson. The story takes

place on the 27th of June in a small nameless town. The lottery is a tradition in this small town

and has taken place longer than any of the townspeople can remember. In fact none even

remember why there is a lottery, but take part in it because there has always been one. Part of this

tradition is an old black box. Of course it is not the original box but some in the story say that it

was made from pieces of the old box. This box is so special to the lottery because it is what

pieces of paper are drawn from to determine the winner. The writer began the story by explaining

how the whole town gathers together on the morning of June 27th. The children are innocently

playing in one area. A group of boys gathers up a pile of stones and stand watch so no other kids

can take them. The women gather together in their own group and exchange bits of gossip while

the men have their own conversations. The mood of the story changes when Mr. Summers, the

man in charge of the lottery, arrives carrying the old black box. Everyone stands with their family

and Mr. Summers takes an attendance to make sure each family is represented.

Then it begins. The head of each household approaches the black box and draws a small

piece of paper, but does not open it. It is silent and the moment is tense as all of the pieces of

paper are unfolded at once. All the papers are blank except the one that Mr. Hutchinson holds.

His paper is marked with a black dot. When this is revealed all members of his family are
required to draw from the black box against the will of his wife Tessie who repeatedly states that

none of it is fair. One-by-one they reveal their slips of paper to see who has drawn the black dot....
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