“The Lottery” Summery and Depth

Eric Fisk
January 28, 2013


“The Lottery” is a short story about a small village and the annual lottery that is shrouded in mystery for the reader. While we learn about the quaint nature of the small village where this lottery takes place we are kept in suspense about what the nature of the lottery is about; what’s “the prize” and who benefits from it? We also learn that in the world of this story, other towns in the surrounding area – if not the entire country – have similar lotteries.

We are given clues that this lottery has existed for a long period of time, noting how the town had already gone through at least one drawing box that had been worn down over time. There were also legends surrounding the newer box, that it had been made from pieces of the older box or it was made out of brand new materials long ago. There was also special care taken by the author to tell the reader that so much time had passed since the lottery began that many of the age-old rituals had been abandoned or forgotten over time such as official speeches, pledges, and chants.

There was also a passage in this story about how some towns had already abandoned their annual lottery for reasons that aren’t clear to us.

By the end of the story we read that the “winner” of the lottery is stoned to death. We are not sure why this has to happen, why each year a member of the community who is picked at random has to die such a horrific death. We are left with more questions than answers…

What happened to society which caused such an atrocity to take place? Was there some kind of cataclysm or disaster? Was there a global feminine or plague that caused societies to keep their population numbers low? Or did modern society revert back to ritual sacrifice because of some superstition?

It’s the pondering of these questions that make the story truly interesting and sticks with the reader long after reading it.


As a reader who is concerned about the direction society is going, I was very intrigued with this story. To me, it reads as if the ritual of this lottery has become more important that the reasons why it was started in the first place.

Why exactly is there a lottery? That answer had been forgotten over time, and one character even stated that it was a bad idea to stop doing it without ever elaborating?

The characters follow through with this ritual without ever discussing why; there’s no talk with the children about why it’s necessary, they just do it. There is never any debate from the members of this society if it’s still a good idea to have the lottery or if it’s even necessary for that village to thin out their population by only one person each year.

What’s disturbing is that it’s an annual event that’s the center piece of a town’s fare that’s celebrated with food, dancing, and club events.

Looking at our own society, I have to ask if there are rituals of our own that we do blindly that have lost it’s meaning. Why exactly do we still have a “Fourth Of July” since we’ve lost sight of what the Declaration of Independence means since history has been watered down over the years? Why do we celebrate “Thanksgiving?” It seems to me to be a crazy ritual where families reunite each year only to rehash old gripes or slights; or even worse – not address serious problems year after year.

The important aspect of this story is that it makes the reader question why societies do what they do and if these rituals still have any meaning or purpose. Are there any dumb annual rituals we should let go of or at least re-examine?


Day One: Expectations

English 101 Journal

January 23, 2013 | Day 1

The wildest First day of class. Ever! Professor Kara Roach…

What’s this class about? What’s its purpose? Developing better communications – It’s more of a writing course.

I was the first to arrive to in the class room. It wasn’t what you would expect for a class room, more like one of the conference rooms in one of the Fortune 500 business I used to work for before I quit it all to follow my dream of becoming a real Graphic Designer. Rectangular tables end to end to end, creating an empty square in the middle of the room with two empty chairs.

The emptiness reminded me of what was in my heart. On the outside I was the usual “fake-it-till-you-make-it” Eric Fisk; trying hard to not act my age (forty-three) and be honest while positive at the same time. As the room began to fill in I knew that I would once again be the oldest one in the room. The empty chairs reminded me of my bed at home. It was only a couple of hours ago that my wife said; “Just put your arms around me. I just need to be held.” She wanted to soak up as much of me as she could before she had to leave for her trip for work. She hated to fly more than I did, and she was trying to get as much sleep and life out of the last few hours before she left for Texas.

I won’t see her again until Monday Night…

My feelings were conflicted. I wanted to give her what she wanted, just hold her. I also needed to tell her how I felt about this new semester and how concerned I was.  I wanted her to stay the way the salt desert flats wants rain. As I listened to her breath while she fell asleep I tried to memorize every aspect of this moment, what her bare skin felt like next to mine, the way her hair smelled, the feel of the cotton sheets and heavy blankets that weighted us down while they kept us warm.

I couldn’t sleep knowing that I would be taking this class this morning. The last time I was in an English class? It was in another century, another millennia! The last time I was in an English class most of these kids weren’t’ even born yet. I can’t help but feel old. Maybe some of my critics were right, it was too late for me to come back to college and get this new degree.

And now I’m asked about my expectations. Who do I expect to be at the end of this class? The only thing I can hope for is to become a more focused, disciplined writer. Sit down, finish a thought! Finish an article in one sitting and make it make sense after I’m done.

Expectations of other students? I want them to be honest with themselves and myself about our writing. I want them to do what I’m doing but to go into their own direction; push the limits and boundaries. Find the line, cross it before redefining it. I want them to write about what they know and then write something nobody has ever written before on that topic. Get edgy.

As for the professor; I’ve always liked Kara Roche since she advised me for my second semester. We’ve exchanged hello’s in the halls ever since while I wondered what she would be like as a teacher.

As for my expectations for the future? I was talking to a professor about the rivalry between Graphic Designers and marketing departments with-in businesses like one of the Fortune 500 companies I used to work before I decided to chase this dream. The truth is, many marketing departments feel threatened by members of the graphic design department because that’s where many of their future bosses come from. It’s not out of the question that before I retire (at the age of eighty, at the rate this country is going) I could be the Director or Vice President of a Marketing/Advertising department of a company someday. There’s also my goal of starting my own firm (like “The Michael and Eliot Company” in “Thirtysomething.”

My expectations is that someday I’ll have something that’s mine. Something where I will do Graphic Design on my own terms, do the best work for the great people in this region and be the envy of the North East and since it’s New Hampshire have the chance to work on national political campaigns.

I’m scared, excited, nervous and I can’t wait to see where this adventure in English will take me. Expectations, yea… I have them!