The haste with which Mr. Summers acts and calls out the families' names suggests that his is a duty which he does not relish, nor does he want to allow any time for disputation.
Mr. Summers's reluctance to perform his "civic activity" is also indicated by his being slightly late for the town ritual. Even after he arrives, Mr. Summers is described as resting his hand "carelessly on the black box" and talking "interminably to Mr. Graves and the Martins." When he must finally begin the ritual, Mr. Summers speaks "soberly":
"Well, now...guess we better get started, get this over with, so's we can go back to work. Anybody ain't here?"
After everyone draws from the black box, Mr. Summers again has a sense of urgency: ..."now we've got to hurry a little more to get done." With these words, Mr. Summers hopes to quell any arguments or disagreements with the procedures and be finished with his compulsory assignment. Then, when Tessie's slip of paper reveals the black mark that indicates her as the victim, Mr. Summers again says dispassionately, "Let's finish quickly." Too weak to protest this savage ritual, Mr. Summers represents blind, unthinking adherence to tradition even though he perceives flaws in this tradition. He merely tries to hasten its end so that he can put it out of his mind for another year.