The Lottery

by: Shirley Jackson

Human Nature

Quotes Human Nature
Then Mr. Adams reached into the black box and took out a folded paper. He held it firmly by one corner as he turned and went hastily back to his place in the crowd, where he stood a little apart from his family, not looking down at his hand.

The narrator reveals that after Mr. Adams selects his piece of paper, he refuses to look at it in his hand, seeming to not want to even acknowledge that he’s holding the paper at all. Although the villagers understand fully what happens after the lottery and willingly participate in it, most of them cannot bear to think about what will happen if they pick the “wrong” slip of paper. Even while they all participate in this gruesome ritual that always results in someone’s death, they avoid the thought of their own death for as long as they can.

Mrs. Delacroix selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands and turned to Mrs. Dunbar. “Come on,” she said. “Hurry up.”

As the villagers begin to descend on Tessie, they collect stones to use. Before Tessie selected the marked slip of paper, she joked with Mrs. Delacroix, suggesting to readers that the two were friends. However, when Tessie chooses the marked slip of paper, Mrs. Delacroix wastes no time in stoning her friend. Mrs. Delacroix’s words to Mrs. Dunbar reveal how easily people can be manipulated into persecuting others.