In a lottery, tickets are sold and prizes are awarded by random drawing. The prize money can be anything from a modest amount to a large sum of money. Typically, the money is used for a specific purpose, such as building a school or aiding the poor. Lotteries are popular in many countries and raise large amounts of money for various causes.
The idea of winning the lottery is associated with luck, happiness and anticipation of good things to come. However, in Shirley Jackson’s short story, The Lottery, the winner of the lottery gets stoned to death by all the townspeople. The story is effective because it examines certain aspects of human nature and shows that even though people claim to be good, they are capable of evil deeds.
The characterization methods in this story are remarkable. The actions and general behavior of the characters show their personalities and help to define them. For example, Mrs. Delacroix has a short temper and is determined. This is evident when she picks a huge rock from the lot. It was so big she had to hold it in two hands. Jackson also shows how the lottery affects the characters. The winners are happy and relieved while the losers are angry and frustrated.
Another characterization method used in the story is setting. The town where the lottery takes place is small and rural, so the people are close-knit. They are gossipy and prone to lies. They also have a twisted sense of morality. They congratulate each other when they win the lottery, but when one of them loses, they are quick to criticize and condemn.
A major theme in The Lottery is the irrational behavior of people. Although people are aware that they have long odds, they continue to buy tickets because of the hope that they will be the next winner. They have quotes-unquote systems about buying tickets at certain stores and at particular times of the day. They think that the lottery is their only chance of a better life.
The first known lotteries were held during the Roman Empire, as a form of entertainment at dinner parties. The tickets were given to the guests, and the prizes were usually fancy items like dinnerware. In the 17th century, lotteries were organized in Europe for a variety of purposes, such as helping the poor and repairing city streets. At the end of World War II, state governments began to use lotteries as a way to raise money for a wide range of services. These lotteries were hailed as a painless alternative to taxes, which had become increasingly burdensome on the middle class and working classes. The immediate post-war period was a time of prosperity, and it seemed as if states could expand their social safety nets without having to raise any special taxes. But this arrangement started to crumble in the 1960s as inflation accelerated and the costs of war escalated.