The Lottery and Its Effect on Society

A lottery is a game of chance where participants pay for the right to participate in a draw, with the winner or small group of winners getting some type of prize. The most common kind of lottery is a financial lottery, where people put money into a pot and try to win a large amount of cash. The draw is random and is done by either picking numbers or using machines that randomly spit out tickets. People play for the money but also because of a sense of competition and desire to achieve goals.

According to the National Association of State Lottery Administrators (NASPL), almost 186,000 retailers sold lottery tickets in 2003. In most cases, the retailer keeps a commission on the ticket sales. Retailers also receive incentive-based programs from lottery officials to encourage them to sell more tickets. These incentives may include increased commissions on ticket sales or bonus payments if certain sales goals are met. NASPL reports that the majority of lottery ticket buyers are high-school-educated, middle-aged men in middle-income households.

The gruesome story of the villagers in Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” is an illustration of how much society can depend on tradition. The way they treat each other shows how little consideration they have for human rights and their own lives. The main message of the story is how people can be indifferent to their own well-being and even commit atrocities if they feel compelled by a tradition or cultural norm.

In this case, the tradition of a yearly lottery is what drives the villagers to behave so cruelly. It is what Old Man Warner claims is the result of a long-held belief that the lottery will improve corn growth. This belief is reinforced by the fact that the family members, including children and babies, all participate in the ruthless ritual of drawing the lottery papers. When Tessie Hutchinson’s paper is drawn, she tries to argue that the lottery is not fair but she is quickly stoned to death. The way the villagers treat each other reveals how much they value their own traditions and how they can be willing to commit atrocities as long as they think it will benefit their culture. This is a clear indication that tradition is very powerful and can override the ability to reason. As a result, many people do not consider the negative consequences of their actions.

By 7September
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