Tessie Hutchison is the protagonist of Shirley Jackson's celebrated short story "The Lottery" and challenges her conservative, traditionalist society by speaking out against the brutal ritual. The main conflict of the story is considered an Individual vs. Society conflict. Therefore, Tessie's primary "opponent" is the entire community of Jackson's nondescript rural town. In the story, the small town holds an annual lottery every June and the head of each household is forced to draw a slip of paper from the ominous black box. Once the first slip of paper with a black spot is drawn, the entire family draws from the black box and the person with a black spot is violently stoned to death. Although the ritual is meaningless, the villagers continue to participate in the lottery simply because it is a tradition.
Tessie Hutchison is portrayed as an outcast, who shows up late to the lottery and does not initially take the ritual seriously. When Tessie's husband, Bill, draws the slip with the black spot on it, Tessie speaks out against the lottery and demands that it wasn't fair. Unfortunately, the rest of the community and her family silence Tessie and she is forced to draw from the black box again. Tragically, Tessie draws the slip with the black spot on it and frantically begins to protest the barbaric ritual. Despite her protests, the villagers adamantly adhere to the tradition and refuse to question the lottery. As Tessie stands alone in the town square, her family, neighbors, and peers brutally stone her to death. Jackson's underlying message concerns the dangers of blindly following tradition and Tessie becomes the village's scapegoat.