“Clean forgot what day it was,” she said to Mrs. Delacroix, who stood next to her, and they both laughed softly. “Thought my old man was out back stacking wood,” Mrs. Hutchinson went on, “and then I looked out the window and the kids was gone, and then I remembered it was the twenty-seventh and came a-running.”
This exchange between Tessie and Mrs. Delacroix provides readers with their first introduction to Tessie, who arrives late to the lottery. While everyone else arrives on time, Tessie initially forgot the importance of the day. Her forgetting immediately sets her apart as someone who may not view the lottery with the same sanctity as the other villagers, yet she acts as a willing participant.
Mrs. Hutchinson craned her neck to see through the crowd and found her husband and children standing near the front. She tapped Mrs. Delacroix on the arm as a farewell and began to make her way through the crowd.
The narrator describes Tessie’s behavior after arriving late to the lottery. The fact that she arrives later than her family sets her further apart from not only the other villagers, but her husband and children as well. Her willingness to disturb the crowd during the lottery shows that she does not regard the ritual as a solemn occasion as the others do.
“Get up there, Bill,” Mrs. Hutchinson said, and the people near her laughed.
After Tessie arrives and hears her husband’s name called, she encourages him to go up and seems optimistic about it. Even though Tessie may not have the same reverence for the lottery as others, she appears to enjoy participating in the ritual. Her view of the lottery as more of a game or a show may leave her unprepared for the ritual’s reality.
“There’s Don and Eva,” Mrs. Hutchinson yelled. “Make them take their chance!”
Tessie answers Mr. Summers after he asks whether the Hutchinson family has any other members who need to draw lots. She points out her daughter Eva and her daughter’s husband, Don. The fact that Tessie readily offers her daughter’s life to save her own reveals the frailty of the family bonds in the Hutchinson family, and likely in the other families in the village, because of what the lottery forces people to do.
Tessie Hutchinson was in the center of a cleared space by now, and she held her hands out desperately as the villagers moved in on her. “It isn’t fair,” she said. A stone hit her on the side of the head.
After the crowd armed with stones closes in on Tessie, she repeats her refrain that the outcome isn’t fair. Compared with Tessie’s eagerness to participate earlier in the day, this reaction reveals her hypocrisy. However, her transformation from carefree spectator to terrified victim portrays her as the only one to truly understand the injustice of the lottery.
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