The Lottery and Other Stories


9. This story satirizes a number of social issues, including the reluctance of people to reject outdated traditions, ideas, rules, laws, and practices. What kinds of traditions, practices, laws, etc. might "The Lottery" represent?

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The lottery is certainly an oudated tradition. It is ironic that few people in the village have an idea why the lottery exists in the first place. They simply do it in the name of tradition. Old Man Warner is the oldest man in the village and boasts of not winning the lottery for seventy-seven years. He complains at talk of stopping the tradition,

"Pack of crazy fools," he said. "Listening to the young folks, nothing's good enough for them. Next thing you know, they'll be wanting to go back to living in caves, nobody work any more, live that way for a while. Used to be a saying about 'Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon.' First think you know, we'd all be eating stewed chickweed and acorns. There's always been a lottery," he added petulantly.

Indeed, Old man Warner is the only person to have a vague notion that the lottery was originally meant as a sacrifice for good crops. Most of the trappings of the Lottery tradition have been lost. Regardless of other towns stopping the lottery, this town seems intent on keeping one tradition alive: the eventual killing of the "lucky" winner.