What is the protagonist's objective in "The Lottery"?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would say that Tessie's objectives in the story change as "the lottery" advances.  At the start of the story, Tessie's objective is simply to "not be late" and to partake in this tradition.  She accomplishes this in standing next to her best friend, Mrs. Delacroix, and even chats it up with Mr. Summers about her tardiness.  The next set of objectives she has is when her husband, Bill, has to redraw because his family has been "selected."  She protests to this end, arguing that the drawing was not fair and that her husband was rushed in making his selection.  Mr. Summers politely rebukes her in arguing the "fairness" of the process and her husband tells her to "Shut up," previewing the silencing of her voice which will take place later on in the story.  Tessie's final objective would have to be avoiding the fate that has befallen upon her with her pulling of the piece of paper with the black dot on it.  To this end, Tessie again argues fairness as a standard, but with more vehemence and intensity as she recognizes the implications of this.  Her last words are testament to this objective:

It isn't fair.  It isn't right.

With this, the crowd seizes upon her with stones, confirming yet again that her objectives could not be accomplished.

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