At the end of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," does Tessie's friend pick up the big rock out of pity?

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This is a rather subjective question and the reader can interpret Mrs. Delacroix's actions in several ways. Mrs. Delacroix is evidently friends with Tessie Hutchinson and engages in casual small talk with her when she arrives late to the lottery. Mrs. Delacroix also encourages her friend to be a good sport when she protests that Mr. Summers did not give her husband enough time to properly choose a slip of paper. However, the moment that Tessie draws the black spot, Mrs. Delacroix selects a stone so large that she can barely carry it to crush her friend. One could interpret Mrs. Delacroix's decision to select a massive stone as a way to express her pity towards Tessie, because a larger stone would put an end to her misery quicker.

However, I believe that Mrs. Delacroix's selection more accurately reveals her momentary bloodlust and loyalty to tradition. Given Mrs. Delacroix's friendship with Tessie, her decision to select a massive stone is particularly unsettling and poignantly illustrates Jackson's message about the dangers of blindly following tradition by depicting how close friends are willing to murder each other at a moment's notice. Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that Mrs. Delacroix does not select a large stone to end Tessie's life quickly but rather to cause her more pain during the barbaric, illogical ritual.

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Readers are expected to make nnumerous inferences throughout Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery." Readers can ask is Tessie being late is ironic. Readers can question if the setting is meant to contrast the darkness of death. Readers may also question if Mrs. Delacroix chooses a rock so large that she can barely carry it in order to end Tessie's suffering sooner. 

Essentially, the answer to the last question (and the one posted) is subjective. Some readers may feel as if Mrs. Delacroix felt sorry for Tessie, and she knew that a large rock would take Tessie's life quicker than a smaller one. Other readers may feel as if Mrs. Delacroix did not really like Tessie. If she did not like Tessie, a large rock would cause Tessie more pain.

Either way, a reader could justify either answer. Mrs. Delacroix could feel pity for Tessie, yet she (Delacroix) may not like her either. Readers simply are not told directly.  

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