What is the climax of "The Lottery"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The climax of a text is usually the moment of the highest tension, when the text's major conflict comes to a head, and it can even be a turning point in the story.

For this short story, the main conflict develops between Tessie Hutchinson and her community. She seems to...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

The climax of a text is usually the moment of the highest tension, when the text's major conflict comes to a head, and it can even be a turning point in the story.

For this short story, the main conflict develops between Tessie Hutchinson and her community. She seems to be the only person to forget that today is lottery day, and she arrives late. Further, when Tessie's husband, Bill, draws the marked slip of paper, Tessie shouts at Mr. Summers, claiming that something isn't fair. Her friend, Mrs. Delacroix, tries to reason with her, and Bill actually tells her to shut up. Tessie insists that her daughter should draw with their family, though the rule is that daughters draw with their husband's families. As the men move on, Tessie continues to complain and trying to convince the crowd.

When the members of her family must draw individually, it is soon revealed that Tessie has drawn the marked slip of paper; by now, we've figured out that "winning" this lottery is not a good thing. Mr. Summers implores the gathered crowd to "finish quickly," and we see them all gathering rocks, even Tessie's own family, to stone her to death.

The climax arrives when Tessie "was in the center of a cleared space ... and she held her hands out desperately as the villagers moved in on her." The conflict between Tessie and society comes to a head here, and this is a moment of incredibly high tension in the story.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team