A shocking realization comes to the reader at the end of "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson: the community have not been drawing for any prize or reward in the traditional sense. Instead, lottery has the ancient meaning:they have drawn lots. What is amazing is that the people--even Tessie Hutchinson's husband--have mindlessly followed a superstitious custom of making someone a scapegoat for some reason that they do not remember, if they knew at all. Their callous and savage behavior is underscored with Jackson's line:
The children had stones already, and someone gave little Davy Hutchinson a few pebbles.
Old Man Warner, who stauchly adheres to tradition no matter what the tradition is calls out, "Come on, come on, everyone," and the others hurry, ignoring Mrs. Hutchinson's pleas for reason,
It ain't fair, is isn't right."