The Lottery and the Moral Values of Society

As lotteries become increasingly popular, we must ask whether they are consistent with the moral values of society. Moreover, as state governments seek to maximize revenues by using advertisements to persuade people to spend money on their games, it is important to consider whether this is an appropriate function for the government. The lottery promotes gambling, and promoting gambling raises concerns about negative consequences for the poor, problem gamblers, and others. Furthermore, the promotion of a gambling industry undermines the role of the state as a protector of the public interest and promotes competition between private interests that may be at odds with one another.

The story of Tessie Hutchinson and the lottery illustrates a number of key issues. Firstly, the lottery highlights the power of tradition to override reason. Throughout the story, Old Man Warner references an ancient saying that “Lottery in June; corn will be heavy soon.” The implication is that human sacrifice is necessary to ensure an abundant harvest. This tradition, despite having no basis in science or history, continues to hold strong and is widely accepted among the villagers. The fact that the villagers continue to perform this act even when it is clear that it has no effect shows that they are driven by a sense of tradition rather than a desire for self-preservation.

Another issue highlighted by the story is the importance of family in this situation. Although Tessie was able to break free of her familial obligations and win the lottery, it is important to note that she did so at the expense of the rest of her family. Her children, Nancy and Bill, were not supportive of her decision to break from tradition and they did not attend the lottery drawing. This demonstrates that even within families, the desire for personal gain can override a sense of loyalty and good will.

Lastly, the story also discusses the importance of social norms in determining behavior. The story begins by stating that the children assembled first, of course. This wording implies that the children always assemble for the lottery and it is an integral part of the village’s traditions. The story suggests that this is a common practice in many cultures and it is often a result of the fact that the children are seen as innocent.

The overall message of the story is that people should be able to stand up against authority and challenge an outdated status quo. The fact that the villagers all support the lottery, despite its absurdity, proves that majority rule can be corrupt in small towns as well. This is a reminder that democracy, as much as it has its merits, can sometimes be dangerous.

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