A Review of the Lottery in a Novel
The lottery is a popular way for people to try their luck at winning money. Some people are serious about it and spend $50 or $100 a week on tickets. Others are casual and play for fun. Regardless of how you approach the lottery, there are some things to consider before playing. The odds are not in your favor, and you can lose more than you win. You can also be duped by fraudulent promotions. Some critics charge that lottery advertising is deceptive, presenting misleading information about the odds of winning the jackpot and inflating the value of the money won (lotto jackpot prizes are usually paid in equal annual installments over 20 years, with inflation dramatically eroding the current value).
One aspect of Jackson’s story is the setting. The story takes place in an isolated rural town. The people speak archaic European languages, and their customs are reminiscent of the past. The story is meant to evoke a sense of horror and disgust in the reader. In addition, the story is narrated by someone who seems a little off-center.
Despite the horrific nature of the lottery, the townspeople treat it as something normal. They gather in the same manner as they do for other events. They greet each other and exchange gossip. They are seemingly indifferent to the fact that they are partaking in murder.
Jackson’s word choice in this paragraph is very interesting. She uses the phrase “the children assembled first, of course” to describe the order in which the lottery participants assemble. Children are typically viewed as innocent and unaffected, but in this story they are about to participate in a brutal act. Jackson’s use of this word choice is intended to make the audience believe that the children are unaware of what they are about to do and that they are oblivious to the reality of the lottery.
In the early post-World War II period, many states were expanding their social safety nets and needed a source of revenue to pay for these programs. Lotteries were seen as a way to raise funds without onerous taxes on middle class and working class residents. But studies have shown that the bulk of lottery players and revenues are derived from middle class neighborhoods, while lower-income neighborhood residents are proportionally less likely to play.
The cruel tradition of the lottery in Jackson’s short story is an attempt to scapegoat Tessie Hutchinson for her reluctance to change traditions, her poor work ethic, and her minority status as a woman. Historically, however, lotteries have been used for all or part of the financing of numerous public works projects, including building the British Museum, repairing bridges, and providing cannons to defend Philadelphia during the American Revolution. Several lotteries operated in the 13 colonies in 1776. Until they were outlawed in 1826, lottery abuses strengthened arguments against them and weakened their defenders.