Study Guide

The Lottery Summary

By Shirley Jackson

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The Lottery Summary

On a warm day in late June (the 27th, to be exact), villagers gather in the square to participate in a lottery run by Mr. Summers, who officiates at all the big civic events. Oooh, this sounds fun.

The children arrive first and begin collecting stones until their parents call them to order. Mrs. Hutchinson arrives late and chats briefly with her friend, Mrs. Delacroix. It's just another day in an idyllic small town.

Mr. Summers calls each head of the household (always a grown man) forward to a black wooden box, where each selects a slip of paper. Once the men have chosen, Mr. Summers allows everyone to open the paper and see who's been selected. The lucky person selected: Bill Hutchinson.

His wife immediately starts protesting—so we get the sense, somehow, that they're not about to win a couple million dollars. What kind of lottery is this, exactly?

There are five people total in the Hutchinson family. Mr. Summers places five slips of paper into the box and each member of the family draws. Tess (Mrs. Hutchinson) draws a slip of paper with a big black dot in the center. Not good.

The villagers advance on her, and it becomes crystal clear what the prize for the lottery really is: a stoning. Tess protests in vain as the villagers attack her.

And...that's the story, guys. Have a fun time trying to get to sleep tonight!

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