Lottery is a process that determines the distribution of something of limited but high demand. It can be anything from kindergarten admission at a reputable school to units in a subsidized housing block or a vaccine for a rapidly spreading disease. There are several different kinds of lottery, the most common being those that dish out cash prizes to paying participants and the one that occurs in sport. A financial lottery involves players paying a smaller amount of money to select a group of numbers and then having machines randomly split them and winning prizes if enough of the chosen numbers are matched.
The lottery was a very popular form of raising funds in the medieval and early modern period, with many towns holding public lotteries to fund town fortifications, poor relief, and other purposes. The first recorded lotteries to offer tickets for sale with a prize in the form of money were held in the Low Countries in the 15th century. The oldest still-running lottery is the Dutch state-owned Staatsloterij, which has been operating since 1726.
In her short story “The Lottery,” Shirley Jackson portrayed the occurrence of a lottery in a small, seemingly peaceful looking village. The events of the lottery highlight humankind’s hypocrisy and evil nature. Initially, the villagers appear to be happy about the lottery until it turns against them. “They greeted each other and exchanged bits of gossip…manhandled each other without a flinch of pity” (Shirley 281).
Despite the apparent good intentions of the lottery, the results of it are horrifying. It creates a sense of hopelessness in people. It may give them a glimmer of hope but the chances of winning are too slim to be considered a realistic possibility. However, it is an alluring prospect for some people who feel that the lottery will allow them to get out of their current financial woes and achieve success.
As a result, the lottery becomes an eroding foundation for the society and a source of resentment among the losers. The lottery also encourages people to gamble for the chance of becoming rich, which leads to compulsive gambling and even addiction. In addition, the lottery has a regressive effect on lower-income families, which can cause financial problems.
In the end, despite the fact that the lottery is supposed to be for public benefit, the truth is that it benefits only a few specific constituencies: convenience store operators and suppliers; teachers (in states where revenues are earmarked for education); state legislators, etc. In most cases, the initial policy decisions regarding the lottery are overtaken by the continuous evolution of the industry and its operations.
The moral of this story is that people should be able to stand up for themselves and challenge an outdated status quo, especially if it is unjust. Moreover, it is important to remember that there are some things in life more important than money, such as family and friends. Tessie Hutchinson’s attitude in the story shows that she cared more about her own financial situation than her family and that is a very disturbing thought.