The short story The Lottery by Shirley Jackson is about a small town in which its inhabitants have maintained an ancient practice that began with their ancestors. This ancient practice is “the lottery”. In this lottery, the name of a person is drawn from a peculiar box. The event is led and conducted by the town’s elders. The end of the lottery occurs when the person whose name gets drawn gets stoned to death.
Nobody in the village ever questioned the rationale for the lottery, and that is precisely what brings out the depth of its meaning: The stagnant state of mind that prevents our mental development and leads us to aberration.
The fact that the villagers continued to carry on with a tradition that was outdated, morbid, and made no sense, is indicative of stagnation, ignorance, and lack of common sense. Not questioning the status quo and preserving traditions that serve no purpose are also indicative of a mentality that resists change. Resisting change is conducive to philosophical, psychological, and physical extinction. The lottery, therefore, represents social and psychological stagnation.