Part of the success of this story and the shock of its ending lies in how subtly Jackson weaves in her foreshadowing that this is not simply a benign lottery. The boys gathering piles of rocks are ominous, as is the following reaction, which occurs as Mr. Summers places the black lottery box on the stool:
The villagers kept their distance, leaving a space between themselves and the stool.
This detail is subtle, but in a short story, every word counts, and we might wonder why the villagers want to keep away from the stool.
After that, Mr Summers, asks, "Some of you fellows want to give me a hand?" We learn that
there was a hesitation before two men, Mr. Martin and his oldest son, Baxter, came forward to hold the box steady on the stool while Mr. Summers stirred up the papers inside it.
Again, this is a subtle detail, a mere "hesitation" before people volunteer to help with a task that involves touching the box. It is easy to miss, but the dread the villagers have about being near the box...
(The entire section contains 3 answers and 749 words.)