What is the significance of Old Man Warner being in the lottery 77 times?I know that in the Bible, it is said that 77 times is the number of times you pray to be forgiven of your sins.  The people...

What is the significance of Old Man Warner being in the lottery 77 times?

I know that in the Bible, it is said that 77 times is the number of times you pray to be forgiven of your sins.  The people in the town are committing sins by killing whoever gets picked for the lottery.  I think this is connected, but I'm not sure how.

1 Answer | Add Yours

billdelaney's profile pic

William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Old Man Warner is a staunch traditionalist and a hard-core conservative. He has been in the lottery 77 times over 77 years and has never drawn the slip with the black mark from the box. If he had drawn that slip during those 77 years he would have lost his faith in the lottery and his strong advocacy for the tradition of holding it--but, of course, he wouldn't  be around to be defending it. When Tessie Hutchinson draws the slip with the black mark, she suddenly realizes that there is something wrong with the lottery, although she doesn't quite understand what it is. She only protests that "it isn't fair" before the others move in to stone her to death. Old Man Warner thinks the lottery is a fine institution--as long as he isn't the one who draws the death slip. The longer he participates in the drawings without being the victim, the more he feels assures of his own security. There seem to be a lot of allusions to the Bible in the story, but they may only be for atmosphere, so to speak.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,917 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question