Lottery, a procedure for distributing something (usually money or prizes) among individuals according to chance. The word has its origins in ancient times; the Old Testament instructs Moses to take a census of Israel’s people and divide their land by lottery, and Roman emperors used lotteries to give away property and slaves during Saturnalian feasts. In modern times, public lotteries have become popular ways of raising funds for a variety of purposes. Many states hold state-wide lotteries, while others use them to provide free college tuition or scholarships for disadvantaged students. Private lotteries also are common, often providing a more personal, less formal way to distribute something such as goods or services.
When a lottery is conducted, participants purchase chances to win prizes. A drawing is then held to determine the winners. The prizes can range from cash to goods or services. Some people choose to buy multiple tickets, increasing their odds of winning. Unlike other forms of gambling, in which the players pay to enter, participation in a lottery is voluntary and requires no skill or knowledge to play.
Although this is an enjoyable story, it is not without flaws. For one, it seems to be a very biased portrayal of women in society. Women are portrayed as weak, stupid, and easily persuaded. In addition, the main character, Mr. Summers, is a very sexist man. He treats women as nothing more than objects to be exploited and controlled. It is a shame that this kind of writing is still prevalent today.
The real problem with the lottery, as Cohen points out, is that its popularity coincided with a decline in financial security for most working Americans. During the nineteen-seventies, income inequality widened, job security and pensions disappeared, health-care costs skyrocketed, and the national promise that hard work and education would make children better off than their parents ceased to be true for most people.
As the economy slowed down in the nineteen-eighties, state budget crises grew more serious and states looked for solutions that wouldn’t enrage their anti-tax electorates. This led to the proliferation of the state-run lottery, whose appeal soared as the nation’s tax revolt intensified.
The story, although well-written, is not a very persuasive argument against the lottery. Its arguments are largely based on emotion rather than on reason. Moreover, it fails to address the fact that there is no evidence of any long-term increase in the number of people who have won the lottery. Despite these problems, the story does contain an interesting discussion of how our emotions influence our behavior. I recommend that it be read as an entertaining and interesting story, but not as a serious argument against the lottery. These examples have been programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word ‘lottery.’ Send us feedback.