The Lottery – A Book Review

In the United States, where the majority of state governments have a lottery, people purchase tickets to be entered into drawings for a chance to win a prize ranging from cash and cars to college tuition and medical treatment. In addition to generating revenue for state budgets, lotteries have become popular as forms of entertainment and offer people an alternative to conventional gambling, which has been associated with crime, addiction, and other harmful behaviors. The lottery has also been criticized for its alleged regressive effect on lower-income populations and its potential to encourage illegal gambling.

The Lottery is a story that illustrates how some people will not let go of outdated traditions and rituals even when those practices are clearly absurd. The story takes place in a bucolic setting of small town life, and the narrator is careful to create the sense of normalcy and safety typical of a rural community. The first scenes in the story feature children who have recently returned from summer break, and the narrator describes the gathering of families in a way that lulls readers and characters alike into a false sense of security.

Once the villagers have gathered in the square, Mr. Summers, who serves as the master of ceremonies for the town’s lottery, announces that it is time to begin. The narrator notes that while the original lottery paraphernalia has been lost over time, the villagers still respect the tradition conferred by the black box. They then begin to select their numbers from the slips distributed by the narrator. The selection process is a gruesome one. As each family member draws a number, they reveal their choice to the narrator and each other, and a general sigh is heard when Little Dave’s paper is blank and Nancy and Bill’s are black.

As the process continues, Mrs. Summers reveals that she has drawn the number of Tessie Hutchinson, and the villagers are quick to rally around her. The story illustrates that people will not stand up for the rights of others, and that they have a tendency to follow blindly outdated customs and traditions. Despite the obvious brutality of the situation, people will often ignore violence when it is committed against them.

The lottery is a source of controversy in many states, with opponents criticizing its alleged promotion of addictive gambling and regressive effects on lower-income communities. Supporters point out that it is a way for state government to raise money without imposing particularly heavy taxes on middle-class and working-class residents. In addition, lotteries can raise funds for a wide variety of social programs and initiatives. However, critics argue that the state must weigh these benefits against the harms of compulsive gambling and other negative consequences associated with the lottery. Nonetheless, the lottery remains widely popular. It is estimated that the average American spends over $60 per year on tickets. As more states introduce lotteries, they may continue to face growing public opposition and scrutiny.