When Mrs. Hutchinson arrives at the town square for the lottery, she speaks with Mrs. Delacroix who reassures her that she has not missed anything important. Mr. Summers takes notice of Mrs. Hutchinson’s arrival as well and, with a lighthearted tone, calls out to her husband to notify him of her presence. As the families group together, the villagers notice that Clyde Dunbar is not in attendance due to his broken leg. Mr. Summers calls out to the crowd to ask who intends to draw for him, and his wife volunteers so that her young son does not have to. After a few more community members are accounted for, the crowd falls silent and the lottery officially begins. Mr. Summers reminds those in attendance that the man of each household will draw a slip of paper from the black box when their family’s name is called, although the villagers are plenty familiar with the rules of the proceedings.

One by one, men emerge from the crowd to draw a slip on behalf of their families. Mr. Summers attempts to maintain a friendly attitude toward each person who comes forward, but most of the men are hesitant and nervous. Meanwhile, the women in the crowd talk quietly amongst themselves. Mrs. Delacroix makes a comment to Mrs. Graves about how quickly time goes by in between each year’s lottery, and they both watch as their husbands draw papers from the box. Mrs. Hutchinson even jokes about the situation as she instructs her husband to “get up there.” As the lottery continues, Old Man Warner complains to Mr. Adams about the fact that surrounding villages are considering abandoning the lottery. He emphasizes that since the lottery has always been a part of their tradition, future generations should continue to uphold it despite protests from the “young fools.” Mr. Summers continues to call names, and, as he gets closer to the end of the list, the tension among the assembled group seems to rise. Mrs. Dunbar, for example, instructs her son to prepare to run in order to alert his father about the results of the lottery. 

When all of the names have been called, Mr. Summers takes a breath before instructing the villagers to open their slips of paper. The silent tension that initially characterized the group turns into a frantic outburst as the women beg their husbands to reveal whether or not they “got it.” Word eventually spreads that Bill Hutchinson was the person that the lottery selected, and as the eyes of the village land on him, he stands quiet and dumbfounded. Tessie Hutchinson begins to protest almost immediately, arguing that her husband was not given ample time to select the slip of paper of his choosing. The other villagers disregard this argument, however, and they emphasize that everyone had an equal chance of being selected. Even Mr. Hutchinson instructs his wife to stop arguing and keep quiet.