Shirley Jackson had a big problem in writing "The Lottery." She wanted to achieve a big surprise ending--which she certainly succeeded in doing--but she had to hold the reader's interest until the story came to an end. She wanted the event to seem like a fairly ordinary, small-time affair taking place in rural America and involving a lot of plain, countrified Americans who always led uneventful lives, who had little to talk about but crops or the uneventful lives of their neighbors. Jackson knew there was a danger that the reader might assume this was nothing but a dull, slice-of-life piece reminiscent of authors like Hamlin Garland and would lead to nothing but a lottery drawing in which somebody won an insignificant prize like a homemade cake or a Bible--in which case the reader might just stop reading. So foreshadowing was necessary. The reader had to be made to feel that something strange was going to happen but at the same time had to be kept from guessing what that strange happening might be. The fact that some boys were gathering stones suggested some kind of violence in the offing, but the fact that children were present there at all seemed to suggest that the violence would not be too serious. The fact that there was talking about other towns abandoning their lotteries, and that even some of the people in this township were losing their faith in their own lottery, also suggested that there was something a little weird about to take place. Shirley Jackson's story is a masterpiece. She keeps the reader interested in these folksy, gossipy, innocuous yokels through foreshadowing and shifting points of view until she is ready to hit the reader with shock and surprise and horror.