What is the purpose of the lottery in the village? Why do people continue to participate?   

The purpose of the lottery in the village is unclear, although it is implied that there's a superstition that if the lottery is not held, crops will fail. People continue to participate because it is something they have always done, or perhaps out of the irrational belief that not doing it will lead to negative consequences.

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In Shirley Jackson's short story "The Lottery," the nondescript rural town holds an annual ritual at the end of each June, where the community gathers in the village square to participate in the lottery. On the 27th of each June, the head of every household draws a slip of paper from the ominous black box until someone chooses the slip with the black spot on it. That family then draws additional slips from the black box until someone chooses the black spot. This unlucky family member is brutally stoned to death by the entire community.

The exact purpose of the lottery is ambiguous and even the citizens are not aware of its meaning. Old Man Warner briefly comments on the lottery’s origins by saying, "Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon" (5). Warner's comment indicates that the lottery's origins center on a superstitious belief that sacrificing an innocent citizen will increase the harvest yield. This irrational belief underscores the senseless, illogical nature of the ritual.

Warner also...

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