The Lottery

Main Idea, Irony, and Symbolism

Main Idea

The main character in The Lottery is Mrs. Hutchinson, and she lives in a small village. This village has a system called the lottery and it makes sure there is a good harvest. But this lottery requires a sacrifice. Each leader of the household will draw a slip of paper. The family with the black dot will have to return their slips of paper and draw them again. The family member who picks the piece of paper with the black dot on it will be stoned to death as the sacrifice for the good harvest. In this particular drawing Mr. Hutchinson draws out the black dot. His family has to put all of the papers back in and when they draw again Mrs. Hutchinson gets the black dot and is stoned to death.


In The Lottery, the beginning is all nice and peaceful with sunshine and children playing. Then as you get further into the story and realize that they sacrifice one of their own for a good harvest, you begin to realize this village isn't so innocent as it seemed.


In The Lottery, the black wooden box represents fate. The blank slip of paper represents getting another chance to live because it means you or your family is safe and the black dot on the slip of paper represents death because whoever gets it will be stoned to death.