The Lottery: Essay Topics & Samples

The Lottery is one of those stories that can be interpreted in a million different ways. The author brings up many cultural, social, and even political issues to discuss. It is so controversial that the readers were sending hate mails to Jackson!

Did you receive a task to write an essay on The Lottery by Shirley Jackson? Have no idea where to start? Don’t panic! Sometimes you can find it hard to decide on one topic when there are so many options. This short story also has many Easter eggs to analyze. Custom-Writing.org experts created this list of the best ideas for the essay to help you out!

💡 The Lottery: Essay Topics

Don’t know where to start your essay on The Lottery by Shirley Jackson? Check out the prompts to help you write a successful paper!

  1. Literary analysis essay on The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. For this task, you would need to work through the main themes of the story. However, to make it easier, you might want to focus on one topic at a time. For instance, write about the role of tradition and how powerful it can be.
  2. How are gender roles represented in the story? Look closer to how the roles are divided in this fictional society. There is violence against women, but it doesn’t seem like they are allowed to play victims. Can you catch a glimpse of sexism in some situations? You might as well draw some parallels with the real world.
  3. How much do traditions affect our lives? The Lottery as an example. In this analysis essay on The Lottery, you are asked to elaborate on the central theme of the story. Shirley Jackson shows tradition to be so strong and powerful in this society that the rational mind can’t even bring others to reason.
  4. Social classes in The Lottery. Are there any characters in the short story that may seem a bit more privileged than the others? All villagers seem to be in the same boat with equal rights. What about Mr. Summers? His name is on the list, and he draws with everybody else, but doesn’t he have more powers?
  5. The psychology of the crowd in the short story. You are asked to write an argumentative essay on The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. Look for some strong arguments to support the idea. However, there is no need to come up with complicated psychoanalytic theories. Focus on your personal opinion and add some quotes.
  6. Hidden symbols in Shirley Jackson’s story. Here, it would help if you worked on literary analysis for a little bit. There are some apparent symbols, such as the black box and the stones. But how many more can you find? For example, look at the importance of households and write a symbolism essay on The Lottery.
  7. Investigate the phenomenon of hypocrisy in The Lottery. The villagers can be friendly and kind to their neighbors before the ritual begins. However, as soon as they know the results, they immediately turn against “the winner.” Tessie seems like she would do the same, but when she appears to be the chosen one, it doesn’t please her at all.
  8. Tessie Hutchinson as a scapegoat in The Lottery. What can make you think that the main character serves as a scapegoat for the villagers? She might not have a good reputation among them. What do you think drives them to stone her to death? Start a debate on this issue, and don’t forget to use our literature study guide!
  9. The significance of names in Shirley Jackson’s story. You might have noticed the specifics of the main characters’ names. For instance, Mr. Summers fits perfectly in the setting of a beautiful summer day. Mr. Delacroix, in his turn, carries some hidden religious meaning if you look up the translation. Can you find any other meaningful names?
  10. What is the central message of The Lottery? You might have thought about it after reading the summary of the short story. Well, there is no specific answer because everything depends on your perspective. It may concern social or political issues or whatever you prefer. It is what makes your essay so unique, isn’t it?

✒️ The Lottery: Essay Samples

Below you’ll find a collection of The Lottery essay examples. You are welcome to use them for inspiration!

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