Many people play the lottery every week in the US, contributing to billions in revenue each year. Even though the odds of winning are very low, people still believe that they can win big and improve their lives. They have quote-unquote systems that aren’t based in statistical reasoning and they buy tickets for different stores at times of day, believing that their chances increase depending on the number of tickets purchased.
Mrs. Hutchison, the protagonist of this short story, symbolizes human hypocrisy and wickedness. The way she retracts her acts of protest and rebellion against the act of lottery is a clear proof of this. Her death in the end, shows that people don’t seem to care about their own mistreatment and continue with evil ways of living, merely because of their conformation with cultural beliefs and practices.
In the early nineteen seventies, when lottery advocates were promoting state-run gambling, they were dismissive of longstanding ethical objections to betting on the outcome of chance. They argued that since the public was going to gamble anyway, the government might as well pocket the profits. The argument was flawed—governments cannot profit from the sale of heroin, for instance—but it gave moral cover to people who approved of lotteries for other reasons. Lottery proponents also framed their case by promising that proceeds would cover a specific line item, invariably education but sometimes elder care, public parks, or veterans’ benefits. This made it easy for voters to decide whether to support the idea of a gambling monopoly.