Book Review: The Lottery

A lottery is an exercise in gambling. It involves paying for a chance to win a prize, which can be anything from money to a new car. Prizes are awarded to winners through a drawing or other random method. The element of payment is what makes it a lottery, according to federal law. It is illegal to promote the lottery by mail or over the telephone, and it is against the law to sell a ticket in interstate commerce. The legality of the lottery is hotly debated, as it raises issues of morality and public policy.

The first of these issues is the fact that the lottery is a form of taxation. While this may not be a big deal for those who can afford it, it is a major problem for poor people and people with addiction problems. The second issue is the question of whether state governments should be promoting gambling at all. This is especially true when the lottery is a business, and it’s main function is to maximize revenue. This is in direct conflict with the state’s responsibility to provide a social safety net for its citizens.

One of the most interesting aspects of this story is that Jackson presents the lottery as a pleasant and innocent event, which is not only unrealistic but misleading to the reader. For example, Jackson mentions that the children assembled first, “of course.” This imply that they are happy for the lottery and does not give the impression that they are about to take part in murder.

The idyllic setting in which the lottery takes place further lulls both the characters and the readers into a false sense of security. Jackson’s description of the town square suggests a peaceful community and creates a sense of tranquility that is completely at odds with the brutal reality of the lottery.

Once the lottery is established, it becomes a classic case of public policy being made piecemeal and incrementally. The lottery starts with a relatively small number of simple games and, due to pressure for increased revenue, progressively expands the games. In this way, the lottery resembles many other forms of government, which are often developed without a comprehensive vision for the public good.

In addition, the earmarking of lottery funds for specific programs is problematic. This practice has the effect of reducing appropriations from other sources and thus creating an incentive for the lottery to continue growing in size. In this way, the lottery becomes a self-perpetuating machine that will continue to grow in size and complexity without any input from legislators or the general public.

Tessie Hutchinson’s tragic fate is a reminder that traditions can be harmful, and that it is important to question those that are not beneficial. Jackson uses this tragedy as a call to reevaluate our cultural beliefs and practices and challenge those that perpetuate harm or injustice. By doing so, we can make our world a better place.