There is at least one example of foreshadowing which might be even more telling and ominous than the collecting of stones. Mr. Adams observes that some of the other towns in the region have started talking about doing away with the lottery, which suggests not only that the same type of lottery has been conducted in other places but that there is something objectionable about it. Old Man Warner strongly opposes the idea of even talking about giving up the lottery. He believes it could invite misfortune. It so happens that he has been participating in his town's lottery for seventy-seven years, which means he must have seen seventy-six people stoned to death. He has probably formed the notion that he personally is protected by some sort of magic charm. No doubt he has seen some good friends, and possibly even relatives, stoned to death in his long lifetime, and he must have participated in killing them.
Shirley Jackson does a marvelous job of telling this story. She holds the reader's interest without giving too much away. The ending comes as a shock even though the reader has been getting an uneasy feeling about this strange lottery in an isolated town in Middle America, where everything seems normal and rather humdrum--and yet there is an air of dread or something intangible making the people seem not quite normal and folksy and ordinary.