The Lottery Essay

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David Funk

Professor Lowe-Hill

ENGL 1220

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

The Lottery

The story “The Lottery” takes place in a homely village that hosts their own annual

lottery, that they consider a “celebration”. It tells us that other villages have a much longer

lottery due to the number of villagers present, but in this specific village there’re only about three

hundred villagers left. The story is very deceiving considering the attitudes of most villagers. But

still everyone considers it as celebration time. As the story goes on, there are key parts that are

not fully described and may leave the reader wondering. For the villagers this is a basic holiday

to them, but for others it may come off as cruel and twisted ritual.

It is June 27th and it was the start of summer vacation and the children begin to run

around gathering stones with their fellow classmates. (Paragraph 2) This goes to show that even

at the youngest of age these villagers include all age levels in this so called “lottery” . Eventually

the men begin to gather together while they watch over the young ones while discussing their

basic life duties to one another. The women all arrive shortly after and begin to gather around

what appears to be the town square. “They stood together, away from the pile of stones in the

corner, and their jokes were quiet and they smiled rather than laughed” (Paragraph 3) This part is

a bit misleading as it portrays happiness and a fun social gathering. The tone begins to get

serious and everybody takes their places around the ceremonial circle. While waiting for the

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civic activity to start, Mr. Summers, who hosts all public ceremonies, arrives with the big black

box needed for this particular ceremony. “When he arrived in the square, carrying the black

wooden box, their was a murmur of conversation among the villagers.” (Paragraph 4) This part

gives off a sort of hush and discrete tone that helps arise a little suspense. The symbol of the

black wooden box was one that everyone in the village was familiar with and no one had any

intention of getting rid of it. To them, it seemed sacred. Every box is said to have been made with

pieces of the box before it. The paper slips used in the ceremony resemble that of your present

day lottery. Just like getting your name drawn out of a hat. “There was a great deal of fussing to

be done before Mr. Summers declared the lottery open”. (Paragraph 7) This is where people

begin to organize the families in order, and sort all the members of each household

alphabetically. The people like to show the authority figures in each individual family or “men of

house”. But as the ceremony was just about to start Tessie Hutchinson came running up and “She

dried her hands on her apron” (Paragraph 8) as if she could have cared less about what day it was

and what was going on, considering she forgot the date. This could be a little sense of

foreshadowing in which that those who do not respect the ritual will be punished.

They began figuring out the drawing sequence and who was going to draw for those

without a man at the head of the household, but those who do not have any boys old enough then

the women shall draw for those who could not make it. It really shows how much they enforce

the male authority during the time this event is taking place so this be dated back to the modern

age. Once the drawing began, everyone had a turn at drawing for their families. Old Man Warner

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stressed the importance of the lottery, “There’s always been a lottery”. (Paragraph 32) He talks

about how this heritage has been around for years on end. Coming from the oldest man in the

village he has the most experience with this particular ceremony.

Once everyone had drawn from the black box there was…