"The Lottery " starts out with an objective tone that makes the reader feel comfortable. The narrator recounts the beautiful first days of summer, the kids playing, and the town folk heading to the center to partake in the lottery. But over time, the reader learns what it means...
"The Lottery" starts out with an objective tone that makes the reader feel comfortable. The narrator recounts the beautiful first days of summer, the kids playing, and the town folk heading to the center to partake in the lottery. But over time, the reader learns what it means to "win" the lottery, and their point of view of the lottery shifts from a positive affair to a dark and tragic tradition.
At the beginning of the story, the narrator makes the lottery seem like a "normal" affair. Everyone gathers to perform this yearly tradition, and the word lottery having a positive connotation reassures the reader that this event is seemingly good. It's even compared to other positive events when the narrator introduces Mr. Summers, the person who runs the lottery.
The lottery was conducted as were the square dances, the teen club, the Halloween program by Mr. Summers who had time and energy to devote to civic activities. He was a roundfaced, jovial man and he ran the coal business, and people were sorry for him because he had no children and his wife was a scold.
Here, the reader is told to be more concerned about Mr. Summers' wife and lack of kids than the lottery itself. It reinforces the idea that the lottery isn't a big deal.
The text continues for several paragraphs to objectively explain the age of the tradition and the box that held the slips of paper used for this event. Words like "nervously" are used, but the reader could understand this to mean the group is nervous with excitement. People seemed to laugh at jokes and made light-hearted comments which veil the reality they are facing.
It's not until everyone looks at their slips of paper and Tessie shouts, "You didn't give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn't fair!" that the reader starts to shift their point of view. Why would someone be mad about winning a lottery? But the more Tessie tries to make someone else the "winner," the more suspicious the reader becomes.
However, it's not until the very end of the story that it's implied the winner dies. Once the reader realizes the lottery is a sacrificial community tool, their perspective of the lottery changes from a positive idea to a negative consequence.