A Review of Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery

A lottery is a form of gambling wherein people have a chance to win money or other prizes. It is a popular activity in the United States and it contributes billions to state revenue annually. Lottery profits are distributed to various recipients, such as schools, health care facilities and public works projects. A lottery can also be a form of charity. Several organizations have been formed to regulate the practice.

Shirley Jackson’s short story The Lottery focuses on the issue of blind following of outdated traditions and rituals. The story takes place in a remote American village where the majority of residents follow traditional customs and do not question the impact of their actions on general human welfare. This theme is also present in other stories written by the author.

The story begins with a man named Mr. Summers, a representative of authority in the community, carrying out a lottery. He gathers the members of major families from the village and writes their names on slips of paper. Each member of a family can only select one name. These tickets are then placed into a black box and stirred up. The story describes a sense of apprehension in the community as people prepare to draw. As the drawing is about to begin, the narrator explains that they have forgotten the original reason for the lottery: “Used to be a saying around here that if corn was heavy in June the lottery was held.”

When the first name is drawn the villagers become silent. They know that this could mean their own death if they are the winner. As the lottery continues, the narrator explains how they can’t understand why the other families do not want to kill their own member. They are convinced that whoever is chosen will have a bad effect on the corn crop.

This is an interesting example of a situation where people are rational from a monetary point of view, but not from a moral one. It is important to note that the disutility of a monetary loss is less than the utility gained by winning the lottery, and this makes it an acceptable investment for many individuals.

However, if the disutility of a monetary prize is much higher than the utility of winning, it is not a rational decision to play. In such a case, it is important to consider the social costs of the lottery before deciding whether or not to participate in it. It is also important to understand that there is a difference between playing the lottery for entertainment and playing it as a means of avoiding poverty. The latter is a more ethical choice. The former, on the other hand, is a clear violation of human rights. This is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. If the lottery is to be used for public good, it must be regulated by government agencies in order to prevent abuses and protect the rights of the citizens.