As "The Lottery" begins the reader is lulled in to what seems to be a sweet story. It appears as though members of a town have gathered in the center of town for a lottery. While we don't know what the lottery is for, who's ever heard of a bad lottery? The weather is so pleasant, the town's followed the tradition for seventy-seven years, so it must be a good thing. Right?
"Seventy-seventh year I been in the lottery," Old Man Warner said as he went through the crowd. "Seventy-seventh time."
However, the reader soon begins to suspect something is different with this lottery. While voices mutter that they hope their friends don't "win" this could be described simple as jealously. But, when the Hutchinson family draws the winning piece of paper, the reader sees they are not excited.
People began to look around to see the Hutchinsons. Bill Hutchinson was standing quiet, staring down at the paper in his hand. Suddenly. Tessie Hutchinson shouted to Mr. Summers. "You didn't give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn't fair!"
The reader wonders why Tessie would be claiming it is unfair if her family has won. The reader grows even more suspicious when she tries to lessen her chances of winning by adding family members.
It is at the end of the story that the reader learns the truth. In a horrific twist, it is learned that the "winner" is stoned by not just the town, but their family.
The children had stones already. And someone gave little Davy Hutchinson few pebbles.
Tessie Hutchinson was in the center of a cleared space by now, and she held her hands out desperately as the villagers moved in on her. "It isn't fair," she said. A stone hit her on the side of the head. Old Man Warner was saying, "Come on, come on, everyone." Steve Adams was in the front of the crowd of villagers, with Mrs. Graves beside him.
"It isn't fair, it isn't right," Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her.
This year's "winner," Mrs. Hutchinson, is stoned by her neighbors and her youngest son, Davey.