Shirley Jackson’s famous short story “The Lottery” tells the tale of a small American town whose residents, following an old and mostly forgotten tradition, run a lottery each year to select one person that they will stone to death. Published in The New Yorker in 1948, Jackson’s narrative drew much attention for its disturbing use of situational irony and violent ending. Despite this initial criticism from readers, “The Lottery” cemented Jackson’s position as a prolific writer of the horror genre.


Read our full plot summary of “The Lottery.”


See a complete list of the characters in “The Lottery” and in-depth analysis of Tessie Hutchinson, Bill Hutchinson, Old Man Warner, Mr. Summers, and Mr. Harry Graves.

Literary Devices

Here's where you will find analysis of the key literary devices in “The Lottery.”


Find the quotes from “The Lottery” you need to support your essay or refresh your memory.

Deeper Study

Deepen your understanding of “The Lottery” with background information about Shirley Jackson.


Go to to get your copy of these helpful resources.