Give a summary of the short story "The Lottery Ticket" by Anton Chekhov.
In Anton Chekhov's story "The Lottery Ticket," Ivan is reading the paper and tells his wife that the first few numbers of the winning lottery number are the same as her lottery ticket. They both fantasize about how they would spend the money and live differently, but this hope gives way to resent and distrust toward each other as they imagine how the winnings would change their spouse. They find that the winning number is one different than Ivan's wife's ticket, and they resume their lives.
“The Lottery Ticket” is a short story by Anton Chekhov about a middle-class couple that believes they have won the lottery. Ivan Dmitritch is skeptical of his wife spending money on lottery tickets and believes she is wasting money on them. However, he agrees to read the winning numbers to her. When he does, the first series of numbers matches, and they get excited before Ivan looks at the last number. They begin to daydream about how they will spend the $75,000 they won. Ivan then realizes that his wife could either abandon him or control him with the money, and he begins to get angry. His wife begins to worry that Ivan will spend all the money—which is, after all, her money. She begins to hate him for desiring her winnings. They argue, and then Ivan realizes the last number doesn’t match. The first four numbers in the series do, but since the last two do not, they win nothing. They are no longer angry at each other as their hope for winning disappears. At the end of the story, Ivan talks about how terrible his life is, and he says he is going to hang himself from a tree outside. The story shows how people’s lives and what’s important to them can quickly change with the sudden onset of wealth.
check Approved by eNotes Editorial
Ivan Dmitritch is a middle class man who lives with his family. He is well contented as he sits on the sofa reading the paper. His wife is clearing the dishes. She asks her husband to check the lottery numbers. He asks her what is her number. She tells him it is 9499 26.
Ivan notices that the first number is indeed 9499. He drops the paper and it falls on his knees. He begins daydreaming about winning the seventy-five thousand. He and his wife both begin daydreaming about what they would do with the money.
They spend the next few minutes dreaming about a new house and traveling. Both the husband and wife begin making plans for spending the money.
Both the husband and wife are so excited at the thought of winning all the money. They are smiling and dreaming about what they will do with the money.
Then Ivan begins thinking about the possibility of his wife traveling without him. He begins thinking about her becoming stingy with the money. He begins to hate the idea of her having all that money.
Likewise, the wife begins thinking that her husband will be after all her money. After all, it is her money. She begins to hate him for desiring all her money.
Before the couple even knows if they have won, they have already spent the money.
Finally, the husband looks to see if the number is 26. It is not. It is 46. The couple did not win. Immediately, the husband and wife begin to come back down to earth:
Hatred and hope both disappeared at once, and it began immediately to seem to Ivan Dmitritch and his wife that their rooms were dark and small and low-pitched, that the supper they had been eating was not doing them good, but lying heavy on their stomachs, that the evenings were long and wearisome. . . .
check Approved by eNotes Editorial