Describe Mr. Summers, based on his responsibilities and the way that others react to him.

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The narrator informs us that other people feel sorry for Mr. Summers because "he had no children and his wife was a scold." They probably also feel sorry for him because he has to perform the lottery. When the lottery begins, Mr. Summers asks for help, and two men hesitate. They acknowledge that they "have to" endure the lottery and participate, but they want to stay as far from it as possible. As a result, they keep their distance from Mr. Summers as well. He is, functionally, the messenger of death.

Mr. Summers is therefore associated with death. And for those who silently or audibly question the validity of the lottery, he is associated with senseless killing. As primitive and barbaric as the lottery is, Mr. Summers carries out his duties professionally. This really doesn't help the townspeople relate or respond to him better. Mr. Summers is grave about the whole ritual but he goes through with it without question. In this respect, he is as mindlessly traditional as any of those who refuse to question the ethics or reasonability of the sacrifice.