The Lottery

Free «The Lottery» Essay Sample

The authorship of the short story The Lottery is accredited to Shirley Jackson and was firstly published in 1948. The story is about an annual ritual carried out in a village with the population of 300 people on the 27th of June. This annual event results to the stoning of the protagonist Tessie Hutchinson shouting, “It isn’t right, it isn’t fair.” This essay will, thus, address the underlying reasons that made Tessie utter this feeble statement at the time of her demise to fulfill a land fertility ritual.

“It isn’t right, it isn’t fair”

Tessie arrived lately for the observance of the ritual acknowledging that she had forgot about the event. Right from the onset, this casts a spotlight on her making her stand out from the rest of villagers. As she wades her way to her husband, she is teased by some people in the crowd and even as the one who could afford to forget and breach the annual ritual by arriving lately. The ritual commences, and Bill Hutchison is singled out after picking the marked paper. Immediately, Tessie responds with a shout, “You didn’t give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn’t fair!” (Shirley16). This is the primary reason as to why she thought the lottery had been unfair. Even though she is encouraged by the rest of the crowd for her husband to be included, she adamantly claims, “It wasn’t fair” because her husband had not been given an equal chance like the rest.

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Moreover, being free spirited, bold and outspoken, there could have been another reason why Tessie kept on challenging the way the lottery had been conducted. Her free spiritedness is evidently seen when she jokingly talks back to Mr. Summers after her late arrival hinting that she was busy washing dishes when the revered ritual had been performed. She responds, “Wouldn’t have me leave m’dishes in the sink, now, would you. Joe?”(Shirley 11). Furthermore, she commands to her husband, when she says, “Get up there, Bill,” inducing the crowd to laughter (Shirley14). In addition, her selfish tendencies could have been also another reason for her complaining attitude. After the lottery settled on Bill, she refuted the way it had been conducted with regards to her husband. This may look as if she was concerned about her family but, on the contrary, this is not the case reason being; Tessie wanted her son-in-law and her daughter to participate in the sacrificial ritual at her place. She yelled, “There’s Don and Eva, [m]ake them take their chance!”(Shirley 16).

In addition, Tessie could have probably hinted at the outcome of the lottery. Due to her bold and outspoken demeanor, she probably sensed that the community did not like her very much. On protesting against the choice of lottery, she is repudiated by the one she expects the least, by her husband. Bill Hutchison says, “Shut up, Tessie” (Shirley 16). This reaction from her husband and the rest of the crowd perhaps makes her think that the ritual is foiled while she had been away washing dishes; thus, it had long been determined that she would be a sacrificial lamb. Hence, there was her constant protest, “It isn’t right, it isn’t fair.” The last but not the least, as long as the lottery does not settle on her, Tessie approves of it. From the outset, she downplays the seriousness of ritual by coming lately and even rushing to her husband to go and participate. However, when Bill and Tessie are picked, it dawns on her how brutal the ritual is. Therefore, she is probably saying that it is an unfair practice to perform the cold blood ritual.


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