"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''.
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!!!Tropes featured in the short story:


* AssholeVictim: [[spoiler: Tessie Hutchinson.]]
* AFeteWorseThanDeath
* {{Foreshadowing}}: The boys stacking stones in the beginning.
** More than just them. On second reading, it's remarkable how many times stones are mentioned.
* GrumpyOldMan: Old Man Warner.
* HumanSacrifice: [[spoiler:Tessie is sacrificed to make the corn harvest plentiful.]]
** There is hope, though. Mention is made of towns stopping the custom (much to Old Man's Warner's disapproval).
* 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.'']]
* LotteryOfDoom
* 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.]]
* 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: [[AdultFear 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.
* StepfordSuburbia
* TomatoSurprise
* TownWithADarkSecret
* 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
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