The Lottery: Foreshadowing

Essay by Laska_plCollege, UndergraduateA, January 2005

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Every June twenty-seventh the villagers in the small town gather in the square for the annual "lottery". The children usually arrive first. They play and gather stones in preparation for the drawing. The husbands and fathers are the next to gather. They tell jokes, but "they smiled rather than laughed." The men do not seem to be as excited as the children are. When finally the women arrive, the families form into their respective groups and they wait for Mr. Summers--the lottery official--to commence the drawings. There are volunteers to hold "box" from which the "heads of the families" draw the slips. One-by-one the papers are withdrawn from the customary box by chosen heads of the families.

As instructed by Mr. Summers, no one is allowed to view the slips until all the paper pieces have been removed. They are called up in alphabetical order until every family is represented by a slip of paper.

Once the drawing has finished they are allowed to look at their paper slips to see who receives entrance into the next round of the lottery. On this day in the story, the one who holds the fateful slip of paper is Bill Hutchinson. With the next round, each of his family members is asked to draw their own piece of paper from the black box. The three children are the first to draw. Little Dave chooses a slip, then Nancy and Bill Jr. is the last of the children. Tessie Hutchinson--Bill's wife--is the fourth to draw, with Bill being last of the family members to receive his fate. One at a time the pieces of paper are opened to reveal each person's secret. The crowd voices their relief as the children's papers show them to be out of prize contention. Bill then opens his...