The Lottery: Summary

People of a small town come together in the square for the lottery. In other places, the lottery takes a long time, but there are approximately 300 people populated in this town, so the lottery takes only a few hours. Children, who have finished schooling for the summer, go to collect stones.

They put the stones in their pockets and make a pile in the square. Men gather next, come next the women. Mr. Summers runs the lottery because he has a lot of free time. He arrives in the square with a old rusty black box. This black box isn’t the normal box used for the lottery because the original was lost a long time ago. Mr. Summers always proposed that they make a new box because the new one is cheap, but no one wants to mess up the traditional way of doing things. Mr. Summers disagreed, however, convinced the villagers to replace the traditional wood chips with paper. Mr. Summers scrambles up the slips of paper in the box. Before the lottery can start, they make a list of all the families in the village. Some people reminisce that in the past there used to be a song, but it have been forgotten.

Tessie Hutchinson joins the crowd, discombobulated because she had forgotten that today was the lottery. She joins her husband and children at the front of the crowd, and people ridicule her about late arrival. Mr. Summers asks whether anyone is absent, and the crowd answers Dunbar isn’t there. Mr. Summers asks who will draw for Dunbar, and Mrs. Dunbar says she will because she doesn’t have a son who’s old enough. Mr. Summers reminds everyone about the lottery’s rules: he will read names, and the family heads come up and draw a slip of paper. No one should look at the paper until everyone has drawn. He calls all the names, greeting each person as they come up to draw a paper. Mr. Summers completes name calling and everyone opens their papers. Word spreads quickly that Bill Hutchinson has got it. Tessie reasures that it wasn’t fair because Bill didn’t have enough time to select a paper. Mr. Summers asks whether there are any other households in the Hutchinson family and Bill says no because his daughter is with her husband’s family. Tessie argues that the lottery wasn’t fair.

Many of the innocent details throughout The Lottery proceed to the violent ending. In the second paragraph, children put stones in their pockets and make piles of stones in the town square, which seems innocent until the stones true reason for use become clear at the end of the story. Tessie’s late arrival at the lottery instantly isolates her apart from the crowd, and the cognition Mr. Summers makes, Thought we were going to have to get on without you,is merely predictive about Tessie’s fate. When Mr. Summers asks whether the Watson boy will draw for him and his mother, no reason is given for why Mr. Watson wouldn’t draw as all the other husbands and fathers do, which reveals that Mr. Watson may have been last year’s victim. Jackson builds suspense in The Lottery by ferociously concealing an explanation and does not reveal the true nature of the lottery until the rock hits Tessie’s head. We visualize how important the lottery is to the people of the town, specifically Old Man Warner.

The entire ritual plays out,things such as roll call and the people approach the box to select papers. But the meaning of the lottery is never revealed, neither is any prize or purpose. She begins to reveal that something is incorrect when the lottery begins and the crowd became nervous, and she greaters the feeling when Tessie agitatedly protests the winning selection. And she gives a clue when she says the villagers still remembered to use stones. But not until a stone hits Tessie does Jackson show her hand completely. By holding off information until the last second, the story’s suspense builds and creates a powerful ending.

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