The Lottery Questions and Answers
by Shirley Jackson

The Lottery book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Who is the scapegoat in the story “The Lottery”?

Expert Answers info

Michael Del Muro eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write316 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and History

One of the most interesting aspects of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" is the time period in which it was written. Published in 1948, just three years after the end of World War II and the discovery of the Nazi death camps, "The Lottery" touches on the idea that otherwise kind and friendly people could do something horrific to innocent people, who, in retrospect, are scapegoats for these people's problems. For Hitler and Germany, the Jewish people were the scapegoats, and in this story, Tessie Hutchinson serves a similar purpose.

The actual lottery in Jackson's story clearly has something to do with agricultural problems in this small village, as Old Man Warner says, "Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon." The villagers, obviously afraid of offending their gods or nature, find it necessary to commit the ultimate evil by murdering an innocent woman in the hopes that this sacrifice will yield a good crop.

Overall, Jackson's story is a commentary on the evils the masses will commit if they...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 725 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Tim Mbiti eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2014

write1,737 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write10,187 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

accessteacher eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write13,728 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial