The Lottery

“infobox Book “
name The Lottery
image caption Tale Blazers Edition
author Shirley Jackson
country America
language English language
genre(s) Short Story
publisher Tale Blazers
release date 1948
media type Paperback
pages 30
isbn 1563127873

Character Summaries

Tessie Hutchinson

Tessie is a young woman who is the unfortunate winner of the lottery. The lottery does not come with a prize, instead it comes with a death sentence.

Old Man Warner

An old man who has been in the town for many years. He remembers some things about the way the lottery used to be run, and laments that time is changing it and young people want it to be stopped.

Mr. Summers

The man who organises and runs the lottery.

Bill Hutchinson

The husband of Tessie. Despite their being married, he is more than willing for his wife to “win” the lottery instead of him.

Mr. Graves

Graves helps Summers organise and run the lottery.


Plot Summary

In a small town, a group of villagers gather for the annual town lottery. In most other towns the lottery takes a long time, but this town is so small that there are only three hundred people.

Children gather stones, putting them both in their pocket and in a pile in the centre of the town square, where the lottery is to be drawn.

Mr. Summers is the one who runs the lottery. He brings the black box (which isn’t the original one, which was lost so long ago that even the village elder, Old Man Warner, was not born at the time) and the lottery begins to be drawn.
Mr. Summers begins to draw the mixes up slips of paper from the box. There were other traditions that used to go along with the drawing of names from the box, but nobody really remembers what they are.

Tessie Hutchinson is late because she had forgotten that today was lottery day. Her father, Bill Hutchinson, has his name selected from the box. Bill has three children, one of them being Tessie. The Hutchinson family is called to the front, where they each draw their name from the box.

Tessie draws the paper with the black dot on it. The villagers then descend upon her, stones in hand.