In Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" In what way might Tessie be considered a scapegoat?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Tessie is considered a scapegoat in "The Lottery" in every possible way but personal reasons.  At the lottery, Tessie arrives cheerfully late, but the crowd makes room for her and everyone seems to be very accepting.  In this small town, everybody knows everybody. 

Tessie becomes a scapegoat, because she is the unlucky lottery winner.  How quickly the townspeople pick up their rocks!  Mrs. Delacroix "selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands" to stone to death the woman with whom only minutes before she had been making small talk.  In this small town, there is a real sense of "I'm glad it's not me" that leads the villagers to accept Tessie's fate so willingly.  Even Tessie, before her family was chosen, calmly accepted the proceedings of the lottery.  Had her name not been chosen, she too would have participated.  The lottery is merely the mechanism in which the town's scapegoat is chosen. 

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