The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson

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"The Lottery" is a short story that shows just how disturbing the human mind can be at times. As the story proceeds it builds the reader up till the end where what you thought was going to happen did not turn out that way. But is that not how our lives are portrayed? Do we not build ourselves up to society believing what they say and do until the matter is put into our hands? Mrs. Hutchinson was a follower of society just like we are. Everyday was the same routine and every year she played the lottery just like all of the other town people. But this year would be a very different year for Mrs. Hutchinson because her chance at the lottery was about to happen. Now as a reader in this day, we would think of the lottery to be a great prize to receive but not during the days of these town people.

The Lottery was a ritual that happened on June 27th of each year. Everyone would gather in the middle of the town and from there each head of the household would draw a piece of paper from a black box. As the story proceeds you can see that people were getting impatient and making remarks like "I wish they'd hurry (The Lottery, pg. 4)." Other people were making comments like "Some places have already quit lotteries (The Lottery, pg. 4)."

As soon as all the families had drawn, no one moved. Everyone just stood still waiting to see who got picked to be in the final drawing. "Then the voices began to say, `It's Hutchinson. It's Bill,' `Bill Hutchinson got it (The Lottery, pg. 5)." From a readers point of view this would be the greatest thing that could have ever happened to them, but not in this case. Moving forward in the story, Mrs. Hutchinson is found yelling, "It wasn't fair!" and "You didn't give him time to choose any paper he wanted (The Lottery, pg. 5)." People in the crowd were telling her to "be a good sport. All of us took the same chance (The Lottery, pg. 5)." Mrs. Hutchinson did not like the responses at all. She even demanded that her married daughter draw in the final round with them. This was only to lessen her chances of getting picked in the end.

In the final round each member of the Hutchinson family would draw again from the black box.

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"The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson." 123HelpMe.com. 25 May 2018
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After he or she had all drawn, each person slowly opened the piece of paper. With a shock of horror the black spot was on the piece of paper that Mrs. Hutchinson had picked. The crowd was so excited that it was almost over. As Mrs. Hutchinson was being cleared in the center, everyone took one last look at her desperate face and came upon her with stones.

Everyday we follow the same crowd, and everyday we are willing to condemn others for our own faults. This story has a great meaning to the life in which we live. It shows us how selfish humans can be and how we take things for granted.

Jackson, Shirley. The Lottery. 1948.
http://staff.bcc.edu/jalexand/Jackson--The_Lottery.htm (1/15/04)


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