The Lottery and Its Symbolism

Lottery is a process where people buy tickets for the chance to win a prize. The prizes are often money, but there are also cases where people win other things such as goods or services. Regardless of the prize, lottery is an addictive form of gambling that many people struggle to quit. Despite the fact that it has been criticized as being addictive, it is still popular and is used to raise money for various projects.

Shirley Jackson uses the lottery in her short story The Lottery to symbolize the issue of traditions in society. The villagers in this story are stuck in the rut of continuing to follow tradition, even when it is not to their greatest advantage. Jackson uses symbolism all throughout the story to show this idea.

In the beginning of the story, the villagers are told to gather at a designated place to take part in a lottery. A man named Mr. Summers, who represents authority, brings out a black box and stirs up the papers inside. When he calls the family names, everyone sighs as they begin to open their slips. Eventually, everyone except for little Dave’s paper, which is blank, and Bill’s, which has a black spot, reveal their prize.

During colonial America, the lottery was an important source of money to finance public ventures such as roads, canals, churches, libraries, and schools. The lottery was also a popular way to raise funds for the war against the French and Indians. Today, 44 states and the District of Columbia run state-sanctioned lotteries. The six that don’t—Alabama, Hawaii, Mississippi, Utah, and Nevada—don’t run lotteries because they have religious objections or because they already receive revenue from gambling.