What do you make of Old Man Warners's saying "Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon"?

2 Answers

ladyvols1's profile pic

ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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One of the themes of "The Lottery" was the adherence to tradition.  What Warner was saying was that because the town was adhering to the tradition of the lottery the town would have good luck in the coming year.  The people believed that the lottery was a direct influence on their prosperity.  "Corn be heavy soon," meant that the farmers in the community would have a good harvest and the community would continue to grow and prosper.  "Old Man Warner, the oldest man in the village, also represents the theme of tradition. When Mr. and Mrs. Adams suggest to Warner that some other villages have already given up the lottery or are thinking about doing so, he replies with, "Next thing you know, they'll be wanting to go back to living in caves . There's always been a lottery."

pmiranda2857's profile pic

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

Posted on

Old Man Warner makes the connection between the survival of the town and the purpose of the lottery, human sacrifice.

In many ancient cultures there was a belief that if a sacrifice, a human sacrifice was made to the gods, it would insure the survival of the village or town, suggesting that the growth of the crops was controlled by the gods. 

The lottery is a classic illustration of the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.  For the survival of the town to continue the lottery must be held to keep the gods content and for them to continue to provide good harvests.