What is a Lottery?


A lottery is a game of chance in which a prize, such as money or goods, is awarded by drawing lots. It is a form of gambling that may be legal or illegal. Some governments regulate the game and set rules for it, while others prohibit it completely. In modern times, there are many types of lotteries. The most common are financial, where people pay a small amount for a chance to win a large sum of money. There are also private lotteries, such as games at dinner parties where guests receive tickets that have symbols on them and are then drawn for prizes, such as fancy dinnerware or other items.

The story “The Lottery” takes place in a rural American village where traditions and customs are the center of community life. At first glance, the residents seem a pleasant group of people. They “greeted one another and exchanged bits of gossip… manhandled each other without a flinch of sympathy” (Shirley 281).

The lottery’s underlying theme is the evil nature of humanity. The actions of the villagers show that they are hypocrites who believe in the idea that nothing wrong can happen to them as long as they remain true to tradition. When Tessie Hutchinson protests that the lottery is not fair, the villagers become angry and throw rocks at her. Despite the fact that violence is not the intention of the villagers, their evil deeds lead to Tessie’s death.