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In "The Lottery", what does Old Man Warner mean by, "in June, corn be heavy soon"?

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holmes35 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 25, 2009 at 5:39 AM via web

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In "The Lottery", what does Old Man Warner mean by, "in June, corn be heavy soon"?

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pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 27, 2009 at 8:19 AM (Answer #1)

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There is a suggestion in this story that by having the lottery each year, a human sacrifice to unseen forces in the universe or gods, that the survival of the town is assured for another year.   This is only hinted at, since no one can remember why they have the lottery anymore, only that it is tradition.

 In fact, the older members of the town, like Old Man Warner, directly links the bounty or plentifulness of the crops with the holding of the lottery.  That is why he is shocked when someone suggests that other towns have abandoned the lottery.

The lottery is held to please the gods, so that they will allow for a bountiful harvest, which is observed as on its way in June.   

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dneshan | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted January 25, 2009 at 10:13 AM (Answer #2)

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Old Man Warner says, "Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon."  This is said during the conversation that Mr. Adams has with him.  They are discussing the fact that there are people in the north village who are trying to get rid of the lottery.  Old Man Warner is very offended by the fact that anyone would want to get rid of such a ritual or town custom.  He has been around for 66 lotteries and does not think that they should be done away with.  The meaning of the saying directly relates to Old Man Warner being the oldest resident of the town.  He recalls a time when the lottery was a reminder of when the crops would be coming up -- "Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon".  This means that when the lottery came around in June, it would not be long before their corn would start sprouting.  It can also be read that if the lottery did not take place in June, then maybe the corn or crop would not come up that year because they would break tradition.   

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