Within a small American town, the residents are filled with excitement as well as nervousness when they awaken one morning of June the twenty-seventh. Everything is ready for the town’s annual tradition, i.e., a lottery in which all families must partake in, and nobody desires to win.
“The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson is considered one of the most famous short stories in America’s literary history. The first copy was published in The New Yorker, and after that, the author started receiving a flood of letters coming from readers who wanted to know the original meaning of the story. This short story has been adapted for television, stage, film, and radio.Summary of the Story
In a tiny village of about 300 residents somewhere in New England, the townspeople are both excited and nervous on the morning of June 27th. The children gather stones as the grownups prepare for the annual event known as “the lottery.” This is a local tradition undertaken to bring forth a good harvest based on the adage quoted by Old Man Warner “Lottery in June; corn is heavy soon”). However, rumors abound that some communities in the north are contemplating giving up the tradition. Some are even said to have done so already.
Preparations for the lottery begin the night before with Mr. Graves and Mr. Summers preparing the paper slips and listing down all families. Once the slips are ready, they are inserted into a black box and stored overnight at the coal company.
On the morning of the event, people gather at around 10 am to begin the event. First, all extended family heads draw slips for each family member. Bill Hutchison receives the slip with a black spot. This means that his family is the chosen one. The second round is skipped because there is only a single household within the Hutchison family. Bill’s daughter and adult sister are counted as part of their husband’s families.
In the final round, all members of the chosen family must participate in the draw regardless of age. Tessie, Bill’s wife, receives the marked slip. At the end of the draw, all slips are released into the wind. In keeping with the tradition, every village then picks up a stone and surrounds Tessie. The story culminates with Tessie being stoned to death while she laments the unjustness of the situation.