"The Lottery" is a short story written by Creator/ShirleyJackson, first published in ''Magazine/TheNewYorker'' in 1948.

It's June 27th. A small American village of roughly three hundred people has prepared for this day as if it were another celebration, like a square dance or a Halloween program. This event, the titular lottery, consists of selecting a family, then an individual, from the slips of paper concealed inside a splintery black box which has been used many times before. The winner (in this instance, a woman) is surprised to be selected and protests that she doesn't deserve the prize, but the whole community, impelled by the weight of tradition, insists on giving it to her. After all, a good harvest is at stake. [[spoiler:Cue the stones.]]

It would be any other quaint story if it weren't for the heavy symbolism. The story is Shirley Jackson's views on the pointlessness of violence and the inhumanity in the world, in each and every person and their own neighbors. Shirley Jackson received much hate mail for it, readers unsubscribed from The New Yorker, and the story was [[BannedInChina banned]] in the Union of South Africa (the precursor to modern-day South Africa).

It is probably best known today as [[SchoolStudyMedia a staple of American junior high/middle school literature classes]]. It has been adapted into many kinds of media, such as radio, one-act plays, short films, a 1969 ballet, and a successful 1996 MadeForTVMovie. {{Shout Out}}s in other media are not uncommon, such as ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' and ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' as well as ''SquidBillies''.

Read it [[http://sites.middlebury.edu/individualandthesociety/files/2010/09/jackson_lottery.pdf here]].

Not to be confused with the completely unrelated post-apocalyptic TV series ''Series/TheLottery''.
!!!Tropes featured in the short story:

* AssholeVictim: [[spoiler:Tessie]], who was perfectly happy with the lottery right up until it started to look like she might "win."
* TheCynic: Old Man Warner, oh so very much.
* FauxAffablyEvil: [[spoiler:The majority of the townsfolk. Friendly, seemingly normal people... who don't bat an eyelid at stoning someone to death]].
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Stones are mentioned several times long before the revelation of the Lottery's ending.
* GrumpyOldMan: Old Man Warner.
* HumanSacrifice: [[spoiler:Tessie is sacrificed to make the corn harvest plentiful.]]
* {{Hypocrite}}: [[spoiler:Tessie's]] protests that the lottery "isn't right" are somewhat reasonable... if, earlier, she hadn't been perfectly happy to let the lottery proceed as it always has.
* InfantImmortality: {{Subverted}}. [[spoiler: In-story, it's {{played straight}}, but when someone draws the spotted paper, everyone in their family must draw again to see which one of them will die-even the ''toddler.'']]
* JerkAss: The majority of the townsfolk in the story are ''not'' nice people.
* JerkassHasAPoint: Old Man Warner's laundry list of complaints against society actually come off as somewhat reasonable, [[spoiler:considering what it's implied the mayor is using the lottery as an excuse to do]].
* LotteryOfDoom: Well, yeah.
* MeaningfulName: Mr. and Mrs. Delacroix, which means "Of the cross" in French.
* MoralMyopia:
** Tessie seems well and eager to let the lottery proceed as it always has... up until [[spoiler:her chances to get stoned to death suddenly become very likely.]]
** Old Man Warner, who was complaining that the lottery "isn't what it used to be", is perfectly happy to let it proceed.
* NobodyEverComplainedBefore: The lottery continues to exist because no one questioned it until now. It's implied that it was once a sort of harvest ritual from many ages ago; "Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon."
* PeerPressureMakesYouEvil: [[spoiler: Babies smiling as they pick up pebbles to throw.]]
* RegularlyScheduledEvil: June 27th of every year.
* RuleOfSymbolism: [[http://www.shmoop.com/lottery-shirley-jackson/symbolism-imagery.html Here's a comprehensive list]] of what each element means... supposedly.
* RuleOfThree: The three-legged chair can be interpreted as anything. [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotDidactic ANYTHING.]]
* SchoolStudyMedia: Guaranteed to be the one short story in class that you actually remember reading.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: On the cynical side. Every line Old Man Warner speaks is a complaint against society.
* TomatoSurprise: The nature of the lottery isn't revealed until the very end of the story.
* TVNeverLies: ''Many'' readers wrote to the author to express their disgust at the fact that this sort of thing was happening in the modern world. Yes, it's ''{{fiction}},'' in the strongest sense of the word.
* UncannyVillage: At the beginning of the story, you'd think the town was located somewhere in {{Arcadia}}. About halfway through the story we start getting hints that the lottery may be something darker than 'just a tradition...'