Both of the first extracts seem to be establishing the setting of each story. In the paragraph from "The Lottery," we learn that the story takes place in a small village of only about three hundred people and that it is something of a special day in the community. When we hear the word "lottery," we might automatically assume that winning it would be a very good and welcome thing; however, this seems to be different from the kind of lottery we are used to: it takes two days, apparently, in larger towns, and at least two hours in this one (so we learn that this is not a draw-one-ticket-to-find-out-the-winner kind of a lottery; it is unusual, unfamiliar to us). In the extract from "The School," we learn that the story takes place at a school for young children, beginning on what is likewise an auspicious day: a day when the students are to plant their own orange trees as part of a class project. However, it is also a bit odd, as well, because somehow all thirty trees have died.
Further, these strange details—a lottery taking two hours and thirty trees dying all at once—help to set the mood. Both stories seem to possess oddities right off the bat, and this might make us feel a little wary or uncertain, perhaps a little nervous. We do not quite know what to expect: what kind of lottery is this? And how could all of the trees die like that?
Both of the second extracts seem to present a climactic moment from their stories. In "The Lottery," we learn that whoever "wins" this lottery does not actually win something good at all: this presents an example of irony, because reality differs from what we were expecting. Now, Mr. Summers's "voice was hushed," and the paper must be "forced . . . out of [Tessie Hutchinson’s] hand." A feeling of dread is conveyed by the big "black spot" made in "heavy pencil," and we know that whatever Tessie has been chosen for is not a pleasant thing; Mr. Summers just wants to "finish quickly," as though to get whatever it is over with.
In the second extract from "The School," the children are asking the narrator, a teacher, about the nature of death. While we might expect children to ask questions about death, we would certainly not expect the very young to be asking, "Is death that which gives meaning to life?" or "Isn’t death, considered as a fundamental datum, the means by which the taken-for-granted mundanity of the everyday may be transcended. . . ?" These are incredibly advanced questions, posed with vocabulary not possessed by typical children (even, perhaps, by typical adults). These ironies, then, continue to develop the stories’ moods, which have now become somewhat more menacing and/or frightening.
Each of the third excerpts presents their story's conclusion. In "The Lottery," we learn what Tessie has "won": death by stoning. In "The School," the children have asked their teacher not just about death, but sex—an act that is, essentially, the beginning of life. The children have witnessed so much death, the end of life, that now they seem interested in how life is created, or begun: an equally, if not more awkward, subject for adults to address with them, because adults often wish to preserve what they see as children's innocence (not realizing that children often know much more than adults expect them to). Our suspicion about these children, that they are quite strange and not at all innocent, is verified by the explicit and specific nature of their curiosity. In "The Lottery," even Tessie’s young son is encouraged to participate in the violent death of his mother. Both conclusions address the idea of childhood innocence: in "The School," it exists only as a fantasy maintained by adults, and in "The Lottery," it is ruined by adults.