A prominent citizen of the village, Mr. Summers owns the coal company, one of the main businesses of the area. Since he is married to "a scold" and has no children, Mr. Summers is probably not socially active in the community. Thus, as a businessman who represents cold capitalism and is alienated from the social life by both his economic status and personal situation, Mr. Summers easily can be distant and officious in performing his civic duty.
Dispassionate and businesslike, Mr. Summers concerns himself with the immediate by following procedures. For example, he has suggested that a new black box should replace the old, worn one. He has been successful, however, in replacing the wood chips for slips of paper. He compiles lists of families, heads of families and the members in each family. In short, Mr. Summers
was very good at all this; in his clean white shirt and blue jeans, with one hand resting carelessly on the black box, he seemed very proper and important as he talked interminably to Mr. Graves and the Martins.
Yet, by the fact that he talks incessantly, there is a hint that Mr. Summers may be somewhat ill at ease about his duties. Nevertheless, he conducts business: "...guess we better get started, get this over with, so's we can go back to work. Anybody ain't here?" He waits with "polite interest" when Mrs. Dunbar says that her husband is missing, and makes a note on his list.
When Tessie Hutchinson's name is drawn, Mr. Summers's voice is hushed and he says, "Let's finish quickly." This man without imagination, education, or courage knows only the perfunctory proceedings of business in which he has enveloped himself, so he desires an end to the proceedings to which he has been assigned.