November 13, 2013
The story “The Lottery” takes place in a seemingly normal small town in suburban America. The people of the small town gather together in the town square on June 27, for the town lottery. The children, who have recently just finished school, run around collecting stones. They put the stones in a pile in the square, for reasons yet to be told. The men gather in the square, followed by the women. Parents call their children over, and the families stand together. Mr. Summers (conductor of the lottery), arrives in the square with a black box. Mr. Summers mixes up the slips of paper in the box. Roll call is taken of all the families in the village, before the lottery can begin. Tessie Hutchinson joins the crowd, quickly joining her husband and family. Mr. Summers begins with stating the rules of the lottery: he’ll read the names, the family heads come up and draw a slip of paper until everyone has drawn. If you get a slip of paper with a black dot on it you get stoned. And Tessie Hutchinson had gotten the slip with the black dot. There are many innocuous details throughout the story that foreshadow its sinister conclusion. In the second paragraph it shows children putting stones in their pockets and make piles of stones in the town square. Which seems like innocent play until the stones true purpose becomes clear at the end of the story. The character’s, Tessie, late arrival sets her apart from the crowd. And the observation Mr. Summers makes “Thought we were going to have to get on
without you” is an eerie prescient about her fate.
Jackson does an excellent job of building suspense by relentlessly withholding explanation and does not reveal the lottery’s true intentions until the first stone hits Tessie’s head. We learn a lot about the lottery as we go through the ritual, hearing names and watching men approach the box to select their papers. But Jackson never says what the lottery is about, nor...