The Lottery

by: Shirley Jackson

Society

Quotes Society
Soon the men began to gather, surveying their own children, speaking of planting and rain, tractors and taxes.

The narrator describes how the villagers gather, first the children followed by the men. The men speak to each other of everyday things, as if they were at any other social function, revealing how ingrained the ritual is in their society. Despite the lottery’s extreme nature, the people’s acceptance of the ritual indicates their willingness to adhere to the rules and traditions of society.

The lottery was conducted—as were the square dances, the teen-age club, the Halloween program—by Mr. Summers, who had time and energy to devote to civic activities.

Here, the author introduces Mr. Summers, the villager in charge of all social events, including the lottery. By putting the lottery on the same level as dances and clubs, readers understand how the people in this village, and elsewhere, have been conditioned to accept the lottery as just another social event. Just as they plan and look forward to other events in their community, the lottery functions as one more event that brings the villagers together.