Analysis of The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

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Words: 372


The Lottery is a widely known short story written by Shirley Jackson. The narrative revolves around an ancient tradition of randomly choosing a member of the village and stoning them. The story provides provocative insights into the themes of conformity and social wrong. The current paper attempts to critically analyze the narrative and discuss the primary topics of the story.


The setting is a small village that seems to be prosperous and peaceful at first glance. The contrast with the consequent events is further demonstrated by the beauty of the surroundings, “the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green” (Jackson 1). The villagers gather in the square and participate in the annual rite of “the lottery”. The “winner” of the lottery is Tessie, and the people begin to throw rocks at her while she exclaims, “It isn’t fair, it isn’t right” (Jackson 2).


One of the core topics in the story is conformity and the blind pursuit of the rules by the villagers. At first, it is demonstrated by the reluctance of the students to leave regulated classes (Allen par. 31). Furthermore, while the villagers have their doubts concerning the ritual, nobody decides to oppose it and discontinue the annual rite (Allen par. 32). As a result, the citizens conform to the tradition even without understanding its purpose since they do not want to stand out from the majority.

Social Wrong

Another primary theme of the narrative is social wrong which generally refers to social systems that are harmful to the individuals (Sianturi et al. 128). The injustice of the “lottery” is demonstrated by the fact that most surrounding settlements incline to reject the violent rite. Nevertheless, the tradition of stoning people remains in the discussed village and is excessively harmful to its residents (Sianturi et al. 128).


Summing up, the current work has summarized the short story The Lottery and analyzed the two primary themes of the narrative which are conformity and social wrong. Despite the growing doubts concerning the annual rite, villagers accept the lottery and intentionally harm one of their own neighbors. Reflecting on the absurdity of the regulation, readers can better grasp these concepts and notice their manifestations in contemporary society.


Allen, Howard. “Summary, Analysis and Themes of ‘The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson.” Owlcation, 2021. Web.

Jackson, Shirley. The Lottery. n.d. Web.

Sianturi, Betty et al. “Revealing Social Phenomena in the Story of ‘The Lottery’ By Shirley Jackson.” Linguistic Landscape and English Studies, 2017, pp. 124-129.