What could have prevented this lottery?

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The Lottery itself occurs because the town believes in it. There is an idea known as "collective conscious" that is a part of mob mentality. Every person in the group is locked into one idea, and because the group's energy, can not see beyond that idea. The people in this town are like that. Uneasiness with the ritual is suggested before Tessie's outburst. Consider Mrs. Adams' comment: "Some places have already quit lotteries."

Old Man Warner quickly shushes her, and others, although clearly nervous, don't step forward. The are all unable to overcome the consciousness that suggests the necessity of this ritual. Its a superstition that no one can bear to test.

So, how to break it? Like anything in life, a loud enough voice, with enough confidence, to turn the consciousness...

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