The ending is fairly shocking. If we go back to the first time having read the story, I am not sure if anyone could legitimately predict that members of the community would pick up stones and pelt one of their members with rocks until they died. That's fairly shocking. The tyranny of the community in stark contrast to the pastoral and rural elements of New England help to provide a sense of juxtaposition which makes the ending of the ceremony all the more shocking. Finally, the zeal and manner in which all members of the community partake in the ceremony is fairly shocking. Anytime one sees children raising stones against parents, old and young alike, and all members in this harmonious moment of sheer brutality and unabashed cruelty, I would say that is a sight worthy of shock.