What are the attitudes of the characters toward the ceremony and why have some of the villages given up on the lottery?

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jmeenach's profile pic

jmeenach | Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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When Ms. Hutchinson arrives late to the lottery which will ultimately seal her fate, she comments that she has been cleaning the kitchen and preparing for noon lunch. Her seeming indifference to the ceremony, her greater concern for noon dinner, and the general frivolty at hand all underscore the confusion and indifference that most of the villagers feel toward an event that is no longer a time-honored tradition as it was in Old Man Warner's Day.

It is this very indifference which has enabled Ms. Hutchinson's village to forsake many of the lottery's rituals, ranging from the makeup of the black box, the wood chips, and even where or how the box is stored throughout the year. These concerns are no longer of any importance to most. For them, the lottery is a perfunctory matter.

Neighboring societies - which were perhaps more progressive-minded although author Shirely Jackson does not directly comment on this one way or another, have abandoned the lottery because they realize it had become a tradition without a purpose other than its barbaric climax. While the villagers in this story may have recognized the same, it is clear they do not wish to question their practices or change the establishment. As long as they are not selected and noon dinner is served on time, who really cares?

brendawm's profile pic

brendawm | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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Mr. and Mrs. Adams–two of the few people who questions the lottery-mentions another village is thinking about giving up the ritual
Janey Dunbar- one woman who draws for her family- complacent- only picks up small stones-one of the few hopeful and seemingly compassionate actions
Mr. Graves helps Joe Summers with the lottery- represents tradition.Mrs. Graves -accepts lottery without question.Mrs. Delacroix- supports the lottery-tells Tessie to "Be a good sport, Tessie."
Bill Hutchinson is Tessie Hutchinson's husband. He controls Tessie stressing the patriarchal system of the village--unquestioning acceptance of lottery results, despite the victim being his wife, emphasizes the brutality the villagers are willing to carry out in name of tradition. Tessie Hutchinson- housewife, mother of four-"wins" the lottery- stoned to death by fellow villagers-last words, "It isn't fair, it isn't right." By challenging the results of the lottery, Tessie represents one of the few voices of rebellion in a village controlled by tradition and complacency.
Joe Summers- the village's most powerful and wealthy man, administrator of the lottery- he continually stresses the importance of ritual to the survival of the village—his character is said to symbolize the evils of capitalism and social stratification.
Old Man Warner-oldest man in the village, has participated in the lottery seventy-seven times-When told other villages are abandoning the lottery, he calls them a "Pack of crazy fools."

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