Explain the feelings that most people in town have toward the lottery.

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There are several textual clues in Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" that elucidate for the reader the general attitude of town towards the lottery. The reader first becomes privy to the fact that "Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones." The fact that the children are gathering materials for the lottery of their own accord in a diligent way indicates just how deeply normalized the lottery has become. At the very least, we know the children accept the lottery as an inevitability.

Soon after, the men of the town "stood together, away from the pile of stones in the corner, and their jokes were quiet and they smiled rather than laughed." They too seem to accept the lottery as inexorable. They "smiled rather than laughed" because of the grim event that lies ahead, but they do make an effort to smile. They make an effort to further normalize the day's event even as they feel uneasy about it.

This attitude is also reflected in the townspeople's body language, as

The villagers kept their distance, leaving a space between themselves and the stool, and when Mr. Summers said, “Some of you fellows want to give me a hand?,” there was a hesitation before two men, Mr. Martin and his oldest son, Baxter, came forward to hold the box steady on the stool while Mr. Summers stirred up the papers inside it.

Once again, there is an uneasy hesitation, but ultimately a commitment to seeing through the lottery and all its implications. The villagers share this communal burden much like how they share the black box itself, passing from one home to another year after year.

Though tension certainly mounts throughout the story up to its grisly end, the overall feel of the townspeople seems to remain the same. They feel nervous, slightly hesitant, and certainly not malicious, but determined to complete the yearly lottery when all is said and done.

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The citizens fear the lottery but blindly follow the tradition by obediently taking part in the brutal ritual. At the beginning of the story, the community gathers in the town square, where they refrain from speaking loudly or laughing. When Mr. Summers asks if anyone can hold the box steady while he mixes the papers, several men hesitate before apprehensively lending him a hand. The citizens' behavior and actions indicate that they are timid, afraid, and anxious to participate in the lottery. They recognize that there is a possibility that they will be brutally murdered if they draw the slip of paper with the black spot on it.

Despite their fear and apprehension, the majority of the community values the tradition and willingly participates in the violent ritual. Old Man Warner is a staunch proponent of the lottery while Mr. Summers proudly conducts the ritual. Old Man Warner even claims that the town will go back to living in caves if they would ever abandon the lottery. The community participation and the obedience they demonstrate while patiently waiting their turn to draw the slips of paper depicts their blind faith in the tradition.

Out of all the characters, Tessie Hutchinson is the only person who speaks out against the lottery and challenges the ritual by yelling that Mr. Summers never gave Bill enough time to draw the slip of paper. Mrs. Delacroix, Mrs. Graves, and Bill Hutchinson defend the lottery by chastising Tessie for questioning the tradition. Tragically, Tessie chooses the slip of paper with the black spot on it and becomes the scapegoat. While Tessie continues to protest that the lottery was not fair, her family members, friends, and neighbors gather stones to hurl at her. The townspeople demonstrate their loyalty to the senseless tradition by brutally murdering Tessie in the town square.

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