In "The Lottery," what is implied by the fact that the only villager to complain about the lottery's "fairness" and consequences is Tessie Hutchinson?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In this disturbing story, that there are no voiced objections to the lottery before it begins indicates a blind acceptance of a ritual that the town has performed over eighty times, at least, since Mr. Warner declares that he has participated for seventy-seven times himself. And, it is interesting to note that the only one to protest that the lottery is not "fair," Tessie Hutchinson, taps Mrs. Delacroix "on the arm as a farewell" as she moves through the crowd to join her husband. This action is certainly ironic:  first of all because Mrs. Delacroix seems to be a friend of Tessie's, and secondly because it suggests that Tessie has had a presentiment of danger.

In addition to this sheep-like adherence to tradition, especially exemplified by Mr. Summers, who assumes a matter-of-fact, business-like tone,

"Well, now...guess we better get started, get this over with, so's we can go back to work"

and Old Man Warner, who scoffs at those who have done away with their lotteries--"Pack of crazy fools"--there appears to be a sadistic enjoyment in the ritual of the lottery. This inherent relish for violence is evident in the actions of Mrs. Delacroix, whom Tessie obviously considers a friend. For, she scolds Tessie for objecting that "It wasn't fair" when her husband has drawn his paper from the black box,

"Be a good sport, Tessie," Mrs. Delacroix called, and Mrs. Graves said, "All of us took the same chance."

Certainly, the use of the word sport indicates that Mrs. Delacroix considers the lottery as something designed for her participation. Moreover, she demonstrates this sadistic delight as she "selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands." Meanwhile, Mr. Warner cheers people on with "Come on, come on, everyone" while Tessie protests "It ain't fair, it isn't right" to a crowd that is completely insensitive to her, who is on the opposing side of the act of stoning.

 

 

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