With the exception of Tessie Hutchinson, the characters in Shirley Jackson's celebrated short story "The Lottery" are depicted as obedient conservatives who value tradition and structure. Jackson's underlying message of her story is the danger of blindly following tradition: the citizens routinely to participate in a brutal, senseless ritual, which results in the violent death of an innocent citizen each year. Characters like Mr. Summers, Bill Hutchinson, Old Man Warner, Mrs. Delacroix, and Mr. and Mrs. Adams share similar characteristics as sheep.
Similar to sheep, the characters are obedient: they are devoted to their annual ritual. With the exception of Tessie Hutchinson, the citizens are not individualistic and share similar attitudes and beliefs. For example, every citizen agrees that the lottery must be conducted, despite the fact that there is no evidence to prove that it is necessary to maintain their functioning society. They refuse to challenge the popular belief and chastise Tessie for questioning the ritual. Initially, the townspeople are timid and meek like sheep at the start of the lottery. They are nervous and anxious about the impending proceedings and refuse to even speak loudly.
The townsfolk could also be compared to sheep because they look towards a leader and loyally follow his directives. Since Mr. Summers conducts the lottery, the citizens follow his lead and obey his instructions in an organized manner. Sheep are also considered relatively unintelligent animals and do not possess the ability to think or act on their own. Instead of behaving and thinking as individuals, the community subscribes to a mob mentality and thinks as a group.