When the Hutchinson family name is drawn, Tessie insists that some other family members' names be added to the list. One thinks she is being generous in this afterthought since it decreases her own chance of winning if other names are added. But then she protests that the drawing wasn't fair, which makes one wonder at the meaning of it all. The reader doesn't understand until later on the true nature of the lottery and what exactly the "prize" of the person who gets the final draw is, but the doubt of it being something good is cast.
The "winner" is Tessie herself, who is promptly stones to death, a yearly ritual of the community which might someday be "lost."