Lottery Books

Lottery is a form of gambling in which people choose numbers or symbols to win prizes. Prizes are usually cash or goods, but sometimes services or land. Lotteries are often used to raise money for governments, towns, wars, and public works projects. The first state-sponsored lottery was established in England in the sixteenth century. Since then, many countries have adopted this method of raising funds. The word lottery is believed to come from the Dutch noun lot, meaning fate or fortune. The drawing of lots is recorded in ancient documents, including the Bible. People have long used the lottery to determine ownership of property or other rights. In modern times, it is often seen as a harmless way to pass the time or help with finances.

In this story, the villagers gather to participate in the lottery. They sort themselves into nuclear families, and Mr. Summers, the organizer and master of ceremonies, arrives carrying a black box that is believed to contain an original piece of lottery paraphernalia from a century ago. He places the box on a stool in the center of the square and begins to draw.

After a few rounds, everyone is ready to announce the winner. There is a general sigh of relief when little Dave’s paper shows a blank. The narrator and Bill reveal theirs as well, and the mute Tessie’s bears a black spot, which makes her the winner. The narrator notes that although the villagers know the odds are stacked against them, they still enter with clear eyes and believe they are doing their civic duty by buying tickets. Studies have shown, however, that lottery ticket sales are disproportionately concentrated in lower-income neighborhoods and among minorities and those who may be suffering from gambling addiction.