Summary of The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

Topics: Short story, The Lottery, Shirley Jackson Pages: 3 (973 words) Published: January 22, 2014

I am writing my essay on “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson. There are several themes that run through this classic short story. One would be the long standing traditions. The mysterious lottery is one example. Villagers continue the lottery year after year because, as one of the villagers would say, “We have always had a lottery as far back as I can remember. I see no reason to end it.” The black box that contains each citizen’s name is another example. Another theme would be that of man’s cruelty toward other men. What appears to be a peaceful town suddenly turns ruthlessly violent in the end. Although some townspeople raise questions about the lottery, they all go along with it in the end. This makes them become unthinking members of a herd, forfeiting their individuality and sending Tessie Hutchinson to her death. That of gender is also involved in this story. The society is male-dominated, and the women are even submissive to their young male children. The central conflict of this story would be when Tess Hutchinson disagrees with the result of the lottery.

To summarize the plot, the villagers of a small town gather together in the square on June 27, a beautiful day, for the town lottery. In other towns, the lottery takes longer, but there are only 300 people in this village, so the lottery takes only two hours. Village children, who had just finished school for the summer, run around collecting stones. They put the stones in their pockets and make a pile in the square. Men gather next, followed by the women. Parents call their children over, and families stand together.

Mr. Summers runs the lottery because he has a lot of time to do things for the village. He arrives in the square with the black box, followed by Mr. Graves, the postmaster. This black box isn’t the original box used for the lottery because the original was lost many years age, even before the town elder, Old Man Warner, was born. Mr. Summers always suggests that they make a new box...
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