How can I use the P.E.E. and 11-Part Paragraph methods to identify three significant character traits for Tessie Hutchinson with specific evidence (related to personality or psychological makeup, not merely physical traits in isolation)?

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Tessie Hutchinson shows herself to be disrespectful of tradition. Her disrespect for tradition can be seen in that she shows up late for the lottery. “"Thought my old man was out back stacking wood," Mrs. Hutchinson went on, “'and then I looked out the window and the kids was gone, and then I remembered it was the twenty-seventh and came a-running.' She dried her hands on her apron . . . ” Arriving late with an excuse of washing dishes may have been Tessie’s way of showing blatant disrespect for a ritualistic tradition the rest of the town holds in high regard. In washing dishes, she is doing a menial task that would be considered of little importance compared to the annual community ritual of likely murdering a human being based upon a lottery drawing. She may also have been symbolically washing her hands of the evil ritual, which is why she waits to dry her hands until she is present at the event.

Tessie is in a nervous, psychological state when she catches up with her husband after her late arrival:

Mrs. Hutchinson craned her neck to see through the crowd and found her husband and children standing near the front. She tapped Mrs. Delacroix on the arm as a farewell and began to make her way through the crowd . . . Mrs. Hutchinson reached her husband, and Mr. Summers, who had been waiting, said cheerfully, "Thought we were going to have to get on without you, Tessie." Mrs. Hutchinson said, grinning, "Wouldn't have me leave m'dishes in the sink, now, would you, Joe?" and soft laughter ran through the crowd as the people stirred back into position after Mrs. Hutchinson's arrival.

Her nervousness is evident in how she makes an excuse for arriving late to her husband and Mr. Summers. Most people let her pass by them in a good humor, but Mr. Summer’s calls her out, as if he can sense her disrespect for the lottery. “Thought we were going to have to get on without you, Tessie,” he says, to let both Mr. and Mrs. Hutchinson to know that he disapproves of her being late. The remark is akin to a teacher saying, “Glad you could join us” sarcastically as a student walks in fifteen minutes late for an important lesson. In both circumstances, the tone is dripping with sarcasm, and meant to express disapproval. Tessie’s husband seems ashamed of his wife being late, which is obvious in that does not make an excuse for her to Mr. Summers. She does provide her own excuse, as if she is nervous to fall on the bad side of Mr. Summers and her husband. Perhaps, at this point, she fears the lottery will be fixed against her because she has shown disrespect for the tradition.

Tessie’s disrespectful, nervous psychological state is best seen where she protests the results of the lottery. First, she accuses the lottery of being unfair. “You didn't give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn't fair!" The one variable that anyone could control in a random drawing is the time allotted for each drawing, and so that is what she singles out with an accusation. Then, as if nervous the drawing will fall to her, she tries to improve her chances of losing the lottery.

"Well, everyone," Mr. Summers said, "that was done pretty fast, and now we've got to be hurrying a little more to get done in time." He consulted his next list. "Bill," he said, "you draw for the Hutchinson family. You got any other households in the Hutchinsons?"

“There's Don and Eva," Mrs. Hutchinson yelled. "Make them take their chance!"

"Daughters draw with their husbands' families, Tessie," Mr. Summers said gently. "You know that as well as anyone else."

This excerpt shows that Mrs. Hutchinson is frantic at this point, because she is yelling to answer the question Mr. Summers asked her husband. She wants to make sure her recommendation is heard before her husband can answer, because she fears his casual surrender to the ritual. She knows perfectly well there are no other members of the household qualified to be in the drawing, but she tried to convince Mr. Summers to include her married child, because doing so would improve her chances of losing. Mrs. Hutchinson is selfish in this moment as a means to survival.

Mrs. Hutchinson's rebellion is against a disgusting, outdated ritual that she should not be subjected to, her nervousness is a reaction to the very real possibility of her own slow, painful death, and her selfishness (although abhorrent) is conceivable as a survival instinct.

As a student writing a paper in the P.E.E. method and 11 Paragraph method, you will have to decide what aspects of Mrs. Hutchinson's psychological state you want to focus on. Hopefully this analysis helps as a starting point. You will also have to restructure your paragraph to include a topic sentence, evidence, and two sentences of explanation after each piece of textual evidence. The analysis above shows you how to take concrete details and explain them as a way to defend a topic sentence, but you should make it your own and reduce block quotes to concrete details to meet your teacher's specifications. Good luck!

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