What is the Lottery?


The lottery is a gambling game where people pay a small amount of money for the chance to win a larger sum of money. The winner is chosen by drawing numbers. Historically, lotteries have been used to raise money for public works projects such as paving streets and building wharves. Today, most states have adopted the system. However, it is important to note that winning the lottery has many tax implications and can make winners go bankrupt in a few years.

While many states argue that the lottery promotes good values such as responsibility and social cohesion, they also use the money to boost state revenue and attract voters. Since the lottery is a business, it must maximize revenues and generate profits to compete with other lotteries. Consequently, it promotes a limited number of high-ticket prizes to attract the attention of potential bettors and drive ticket sales. Moreover, the jackpots are typically inflated to appear larger and more newsworthy, making them more appealing to potential bettors.

In her short story The Lottery, Shirley Jackson condemns the hypocrisy and evil nature of humankind. It is obvious that the characters in the story behave unjustly and without compassion towards one another. They greet each other and exchange bits of gossip and even manhandle each other without a flinch of sympathy. The events in the story show that humanity is a cruel and sniveling species. The fact that all the sins in this story are committed in a seemingly friendly and laid-back setting shows how pervasive this type of behavior is.