This Lottery is a short story written by Shirley Jackson. It was first published in the New Yorker on June 26th 1948. The story takes place on June 27th in a small American village with a population of around 300 people. June 27th is the annual celebration of the lottery, which, in the story, takes places on the same day in nearly every city, town and village. Every person in the village has to take place in the lottery. Due to the small size of the population, the takes place in less than two hours. The townspeople gather in the town square where Mr. Summers, the lottery official, and each head of household draws a slip of paper from an old black box. One of the characters, Tessie Hutchinson, arrives at the event at the last minute, before the drawing began. She had forgotten that it was the day of the lottery until she noticed that there was no-one else around the house. Her husband, Bill Hutchinson, draws the lottery slip with a black mark on it. This means each person in the Hutchinson household is eligible to win the lottery. However, it soon becomes clear that this lottery is one where no-one wants to be the winner. The situation quickly changes and Tessie begins arguing that the drawing was unfair. Things progress quickly after that. All five of members of the Hutchinson family, aside from their eldest daughter, Eva, who had married and was therefore considered to be part of another household, now draw again. When Tessie unfolds her piece of paper a black spot is found. This black spot indicates that Tessie has won the lottery. As the ‘winner’ of the lottery she is stoned to death by her friends, neighbours and family members.
One of the themes used throughout the story is that of irony and the use of the unexpected. The descriptions in the first paragraph are the complete opposite to the overall tone of the story. The day is described as being "clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the...
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