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The Lottery Summary: A Quick Overview of the Story

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The Lottery is a short story from the author, Shirley Jackson written during World War 2. It explores violence, vulnerability, and blind traditions. Take a look at our synopsis.

Here Is a Well-Compiled Plot Overview

It’s around 10.am on June the 27th and residents of a little town are in the town square, gathered for a yearly lottery. Children make their entrance first and start their games and also collect rocks. The adults arrive later on. The children are called by their mothers so that they can stand with their folks. Bobby Marting is among them and is reluctant to be interrupted when collecting his stones.

The lottery is conducted by a man named Joe Summers, who has a nagging wife and no children. He conducts it every year with the claim that he has the energy and time to devote to the civic duties of the town. Joe arrives with a black box made of wood, followed by the postman, Mr. Graves who holds a stool. The box is placed on this stool, and the town residents are to maintain the distance from this box. The box looks worn out, and Summers has repeatedly suggested creating a new one. This suggestion has often been ignored as the people are afraid of breaking the tradition. Joe Summers only managed to convince the people to agree to the filling of the box with paper instead of wood chips because the population was growing.

First, Mr. Summers and Graves have to create lists that have all the head of households in their town and the members of the families. Mr. Summers is then sworn in as the lottery official. Some extra rituals used to be conducted, but most of them are forgotten or changed with time. While the lottery begins, Tessie Hutchinson runs into the gathering and joins her family claiming that she had forgotten what day it was.

Mr. Summers inquires whether everyone is present before they begin. Mr. Dunbar was missing, but his wife agreed to draw on his behalf as he had no other sons who were old enough to perform this task. Mr. Summer confirms that everyone is represented in the gathering and then the lottery begins.

He restates the lottery rules that every head of the family draws a paper slip. No one is to look at their slip until every member has drawn. The residents have done this enough times to fail to listen to Summers’ rules. As the representatives of each family begin drawing their slips, Mr. Adams says that other villages had stopped having lotteries. An Old man named Warner does not agree with this and says that the idea will only lead to trouble. He continues to say that the lottery is sacred to them and also blames the young generation for drowning traditions. This lottery is his 77th, and he goes on stage and announces it.

When the last family has drawn their slip, summers informs them all to open their papers. The people speculate on who has the marked one, whether it was the Watsons or the Dunbars.

The Hutchinsons win, and the word spreads. Tessie is not satisfied with the results and claims the process was not fair and that Summers had not allowed her husband adequate time to pick the slip he intended. The rest scolds her.

Mr. Graves returns the five slips in the box inclusive of the Hutchinson. Tessie tries to protest with the claims of unfairness, but they ignore her. Each of the Hutchinson family members; namely Tessie, Bill, and the children, Bill Jr., Nancy, and Dave pick a slip from the lottery box. Tessie drew the slip that was marked.

The crowd is informed by Summers to finish what came next quickly. Stones are gathered by the villagers from the piles that their children had made. They had forgotten most of their traditions from the past, but they remembered how to use stones. As it turns out winning the lottery was not winning. The villagers make advances towards Tessie with stones in their hands. Tessie protests and screams that it was not fair and it was not right.

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