What does the large stone represent?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The large stone represents the most intense form of community sanctioned violence.  Mrs. Delacroix had been depicted as Tessie's friend throughout the narrative.  They had been interacting with intimate knowledge of the other.  At the same time, they had been close throughout the selection process.  Yet, when Tessie's name is pulled, their loyalty and friendship evaporates almost with frightening abandon.

When Mrs. Delacroix finds the large stone, it is a moment in which one sees how the allure of violence and cruelty is something that is intrinsic into human consciousness.  Jackson describes this moment as quite telling:  "Delacroix selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands and turned to Mrs. Dunbar. 'Come on,' she said. 'Hurry up."  When Mrs. Delacroix picks up the large stone with so much zeal and enthusiasm, the large stone represents the vehicle for her cruelty and violence.  The large stone is a representation of what human beings are capable of doing when they are following social norms and embracing socially sanctioned acts of cruelty.

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