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The Lottery

by: Shirley Jackson

Mr. Summers

Despite his breezy, light-hearted name, Mr. Summers wields a frightening amount of power in the village, power that seems to have been assigned to him arbitrarily. A married, childless business owner, Mr. Summers is “jovial” and pitied by the townspeople for having a nagging wife. No one seems to question his leadership of the lottery, and it seems to have never been challenged. Perhaps he took on the role himself, or perhaps someone offered it to him. Whatever the case, he now has complete control. Mr. Summers not only draws the names on the day of the lottery, but he also makes up the slips of paper that go into the black box. It’s up to him to make the black circle that ultimately condemns someone to death. Jackson never explains why the villagers put such pure faith in Mr. Summers, and the assumption that he will continue to conduct the lottery is just one more inexplicable but universally accepted part of the ritual.