The lottery is a popular form of gambling that involves drawing numbers for a prize. It can be played for money or goods or services and is usually regulated by government. In the seventeenth century, it was common in the Low Countries for towns to hold public lotteries in order to raise funds for town fortifications, help the poor, and other projects. It was also a painless form of taxation and was the first modern method of raising funds for large-scale public works projects.
In the story, a number of people gather for the lottery in this small village. They are chatting, gossiping, and some of them are laughing. They even quote a traditional rhyme: “Lottery in June/Corn will be heavy soon.” The fact that these people are laughing while preparing to take part in this act of evil is what reveals the weak nature of human beings.
Jackson shows the way that people are influenced by their cultures and traditions. Especially when it comes to something like The Lottery, which seems to be something that has been done for many years and nobody questions its negative impact on the general welfare of the population.
In the nineteen-sixties, Cohen explains, the popularity of lottery gambling grew as state revenues declined and a new sense of tax revolt swept America. Legalization advocates no longer argued that the lottery would float the state budget; they began to pitch it as a means of funding a specific line item, invariably some sort of popular, nonpartisan service—most commonly education but also elder care and public parks.