A lottery is a game where participants choose numbers and if enough of them are drawn, the winner gets a prize. It is often used to select kindergarten admissions at a school, housing units in a subsidized apartment building, placements on a sports team and so on. Sometimes, the proceeds are donated to various public sector programs and services.
Lotteries are often criticized for being deceptive, for inflating the prizes (most jackpots are paid in 20 equal annual installments over time, with inflation and taxes dramatically eroding the present value), and for regressively punishing low-income citizens. But these are largely criticisms of specific features of the lottery rather than its fundamental desirability.
As it turns out, the more super-sized a lottery jackpot grows, the greater its popularity. This is because the higher the odds of winning, the more it seems like there might be a real chance that you’ll become an instant millionaire.
The story presents an interesting view on humankind’s hypocrisy. The villagers act in the same way as they would do for other purposes like selecting a new president or picking a candidate to run for the office.
The story also focuses on the fact that humankind has little understanding of justice. For example, Mr. Summer’s colleague Mr. Graves is a lottery ticket seller, yet he is a corrupt person who steals and cheats his colleagues and clients. He is also a womanizer and doesn’t care about the welfare of the children in his village. The villagers do not realize this.