"The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green."

This line, which opens the story, works to create a bright and uplifting mood and emphasizes the vibrancy of the village. The blooming flowers and green grass evoke a particular image of liveliness, an image which establishes the central situational irony of the story. Beginning the story in this overtly pleasant way allows Jackson to create a more dramatic juxtaposition between the outward appearance of the village and the dark truth of their traditions.

"But in this village, where there were only about three hundred people, the whole lottery took less than two hours…"

By offering this key detail about the population of the village in the story’s first paragraph, Jackson enables the readers to make certain inferences about the culture of the people who live there. Small towns often hold tight to traditions and have civically-engaged citizens, two qualities which become central to understanding the progression of the narrative. The small size of the village ultimately heightens the stakes of the lottery as it makes an individual’s chances of losing that much higher, and the short amount of time that it takes to complete suggests that the community views the event as rather inconsequential.

"Soon the men began to gather, surveying their own children, speaking of planting and rain, tractors and taxes."

Jackson very deliberately disguises the time period in which the story takes place, and this line serves as a particularly clear example of that choice. Mentions of “planting and rain” almost create the sense that the village is pre-industrial, but the subsequent discussion of “tractors and taxes” emphasize that, in reality, the story is set in a much more modern era. The contrast between these two possibilities foreshadows the idea that the culture of the town does not align with the broader values of the time period.