Essay on 'The Lottery'

This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples.

Cite this essay cite-image

Table of contents

  1. The Setting
  2. Tessie Hutchinson's Fate
  3. Contribution to Cultural Awareness
  4. Conclusion

The Lottery, a chilling short story written by Shirley Jackson, has long captivated readers with its haunting portrayal of a seemingly idyllic small town. This essay delves into the key elements that make The Lottery a thought-provoking literary piece. Exploring the significance of the setting, the tragic fate of Tessie Hutchinson, and its contribution to cultural awareness, we will unravel the hidden depths and disturbing realities beneath the surface of this renowned tale.

The Setting

The setting of "The Lottery" plays a significant role in shaping the atmosphere and enhancing the impact of the story. Shirley Jackson masterfully establishes an idyllic small town, starkly contrasting the tranquil setting and the disturbing events that unfold.

Save your time!
We can take care of your essay
  • Proper editing and formatting
  • Free revision, title page, and bibliography
  • Flexible prices and money-back guarantee
Place an order

From the beginning, the author paints a picture of a picturesque village with charming houses, well-maintained gardens, and a sense of community harmony. The description of the town square, where the lottery takes place, further adds to the illusion of serenity. The square is described as a "clear and sunny space" with "flowers blossoming profusely," creating an image of beauty and tranquility.

This seemingly perfect setting lull both the story's characters and readers into a false sense of security. The idyllic surroundings suggest nothing sinister could happen in such a peaceful town. The stark contrast between the pleasant imagery and the horrifying outcome of the lottery enhances the shock and disbelief experienced by both the characters and the audience.

Additionally, the setting of a small town contributes to the sense of collective responsibility and the oppressive nature of tradition. In a close-knit community like the one depicted in "The Lottery," individual identities can become subsumed within the larger group. The geographical and social boundaries of the town create an insular environment where everyone is expected to conform to the established norms. The setting emphasizes the power of social pressure and the fear of ostracism that compels the villagers to participate in the lottery, even if they might secretly harbor doubts or objections.

The contrast between the peaceful exterior and the brutal reality of the lottery underscores the theme of hidden darkness lurking beneath the surface of seemingly ordinary places and people. The setting serves as a metaphor for society at large, where harmful traditions and customs can persist despite their inherent injustice or cruelty.

Tessie Hutchinson's Fate

Tessie Hutchinson's fate in "The Lottery" is a crucial aspect of the story that underscores the disturbing nature of blind conformity and the potential for ordinary individuals to become perpetrators of violence. Initially presented as an average member of the community, Tessie's transformation throughout the narrative serves as a stark reminder of the consequences of unquestioning acceptance of tradition.

At the start of The Lottery, Tessie appears to be a typical villager, engaging in casual conversations with her neighbors and participating in the rituals without hesitation. However, as her family is selected during the drawing, her demeanor changes drastically. Tessie's initial nonchalance gives way to mounting distress as she realizes the implications of her family's selection. She frantically pleads for another chance, desperate to avoid the dreadful fate that awaits them.

Tessie's reaction catalyzes readers to question the arbitrary nature of the lottery and the injustice inherent in its outcome. Despite being an active participant in the community, Tessie becomes the target of collective violence simply by drawing a slip of paper. Her character represents the vulnerability of individuals who fall victim to oppressive systems, highlighting the arbitrary nature of fate and the potential for anyone to become a sacrificial lamb.

Moreover, Tessie's fate forces readers to confront the capacity for cruelty that can lie dormant within seemingly ordinary people. As the villagers gather stones to carry out the brutal act of stoning, the stark contrast between their previous interactions and their willingness to participate in the killing becomes chillingly evident. The story unveils the dark undercurrents of human nature and exposes the danger of conformity when it overrides empathy and morality.

In Tessie's demise, Shirley Jackson crafts a powerful allegory for the dangers of blind adherence to tradition. Tessie becomes a symbol of the silenced voices and oppressed individuals who suffer at the hands of societal norms and expectations. Her tragic end is a stark warning against complacency and the unquestioning acceptance of customs perpetuating harm and injustice.

Tessie Hutchinson's fate is a crucial turning point in "The Lottery," as it serves to shock readers out of their complacency and forces them to grapple with uncomfortable truths. Through her character, Jackson reveals the destructive power of conformity, the potential for ordinary individuals to turn into oppressors, and the urgent need to challenge oppressive systems and traditions. Tessie's plight is a haunting reminder that true progress and justice require questioning, critical thinking, and a willingness to challenge the status quo.

Contribution to Cultural Awareness

"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson makes a significant contribution to cultural awareness by challenging readers to critically examine the traditions, rituals, and societal norms prevalent in their own cultures. Through its shocking narrative and thought-provoking themes, the story encourages readers to question the blind adherence to tradition and the potential dangers it can entail.

One of the primary ways in which "The Lottery" contributes to cultural awareness is by highlighting the dangers of unquestioned conformity. The story depicts a community where individuals unquestioningly participate in the lottery, despite its gruesome outcome. By presenting the villagers as ordinary people who willingly engage in a horrifying act, Jackson forces readers to reflect on the potential for moral compromise when traditions are blindly followed. This prompts readers to examine their own cultural practices and question whether they are founded on ethical principles or perpetuate harmful behaviors.

Moreover, "The Lottery" sheds light on the detrimental effects of mob mentality. As the townspeople gather to carry out the stoning, the story explores the power of groupthink and the surrender of personal agency to the collective. This aspect of the narrative serves as a cautionary tale, urging readers to consider the consequences of unquestioning acceptance and the need for independent thinking. Doing so cultivates cultural awareness by encouraging individuals to evaluate their own societies' actions and beliefs critically.

The story also serves as a stark critique of harmful traditions and customs. It challenges the notion that traditions should be preserved simply because they are ingrained in a society's history or culture. Through the lottery ritual, Jackson highlights the potential harm that can be inflicted by practices passed down from generation to generation. By questioning the motivations and consequences of these traditions, readers are encouraged to reevaluate their cultural practices and challenge those perpetuating injustice or harm.

"The Lottery" also prompts readers to examine the role of power dynamics in cultural practices. The story unveils how tradition can be used to maintain control and perpetuate oppression. This prompts readers to analyze the power structures within their own cultures critically and question whether certain practices serve to marginalize or harm certain groups. The story contributes to a more nuanced understanding of the complexities inherent in cultural traditions.

By cultivating a deeper understanding of the potential dangers of unquestioned adherence to tradition, the story encourages individuals to engage in critical thinking, foster empathy, and actively challenge harmful practices in order to promote a more just and inclusive culture.


The Lottery stands as a timeless masterpiece that continues to intrigue readers with its exploration of human nature, conformity, and the consequences of unquestioned traditions. Shirley Jackson's expertly crafted story compels us to examine the dark underbelly of our own societies and to challenge the status quo. By unraveling the setting, Tessie Hutchinson's fate, and its contribution to cultural awareness, we gain a deeper understanding of the profound themes and societal critiques that make The Lottery an enduring and thought-provoking literary work.

Make sure you submit a unique essay

Our writers will provide you with an essay sample written from scratch: any topic, any deadline, any instructions.

Cite this paper

Essay on ‘The Lottery’. (2023, April 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 19, 2024, from
“Essay on ‘The Lottery’.” Edubirdie, 21 Apr. 2023,
Essay on ‘The Lottery’. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 19 Jul. 2024].
Essay on ‘The Lottery’ [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Apr 21 [cited 2024 Jul 19]. Available from:

Join our 150k of happy users

  • Get original paper written according to your instructions
  • Save time for what matters most
Place an order

Fair Use Policy

EduBirdie considers academic integrity to be the essential part of the learning process and does not support any violation of the academic standards. Should you have any questions regarding our Fair Use Policy or become aware of any violations, please do not hesitate to contact us via

Check it out!
search Stuck on your essay?

We are here 24/7 to write your paper in as fast as 3 hours.