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Friday, November 21, 2014

The Lottery Summary

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Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery"


It's a beautiful summer day on June 27th, and residents of a small town gather for an event known as the lottery. The children, newly released for summer, are still speaking of school, playing, and carefully gathering the best stones in a pile. The men and their wives begin to congregate, carefully avoiding the pile, and beckon to the children to join their respective families. Mr. Summers, the man who controls the coal company and oversees the lottery, arrives with a black box. He is followed by the postmaster, Mr. Graves, who brings with him a stool to set the box upon. Two of the residents, Mr. Martin and his son Baxter, reluctantly help them to steady the box onto the stool while Mr. Summers shuffles the papers inside it. The remaining residents are careful to keep their distance from the box.

Though older than the oldest man in town, Old Man Warner, the black box is not the first box to be used; and while Mr. Summers has discussed the idea of changing the box, the residents are reluctant, believing that it carries some remnants of the box before it. The black has now deteriorated, and is even slowly changing color. Since the population has expanded, the chips of wood that was once used to draw the names have now been replaced by paper, which Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves prepare from the previous night. Mr. Summers arranges family members by households and makes a list. Residents remember a time when there was even singing involved, but that has all been thrown aside.

The residents are joined by Tessie Hutchinson, Bill Hutchinson's wife, who blames her late arrival on having to complete household chores. Mr. Summers proceeds with identifying which members of their respective households who will draw on behalf of those who are missing. Many of the residents take pity on Mrs. Dunbar because their are no male family members to draw on her husband's behalf. The lottery begins, and the men are called by their family names to draw from the black box. Mr. Adams speaks to Old Man Warner about another town where there has been talk about abandoning the lottery. Old Man Warner criticizes the idea, stating that the lottery is necessary for a good harvest, and that people in the other towns are stupid for entertaining the idea.

The drawing has finished, and Mr. Summers directs the men to look at their papers to identify who has been picked. It is revealed to be the Hutchinson family, to which Tessie protests saying her husband was not given enough time to make a choice. Mr. Summers questions Bill Hutchinson about the members of his family, to get an idea of who will draw from the box. It is decided that their married daughter will be counted with her husband's family, and therefore will not have to draw with the Hutchinsons. Bill and Tessie along with their three children draw from the box, and Tessie is revealed to be the one with the black spot on her paper. She protests, while ner neighbors pick up stones, and form a circle around her. She holds her hand up stating that the drawing is unfair, as her neighbors stone her to death.

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