For this assignment, I would start with the thesis. What is it about Tessie that stands out most from the story? One important factor could be how Tessie changes from being just one member of the seemingly “friendly” crowd gathered to participate in the lottery to being willing to sacrifice other family members to save herself.
To show how ordinary and generally friendly she appears initially, I would point to the scene in which Tessie encounters her neighbor, Mrs. Delacroix. This is the scene in which Tessie makes her initial appearance in the story, and the reader still does not realize what the purpose of the lottery is. In fact, from the description preceding this scene, it would almost seem as if the lottery is a social function like a square dance. The author says,
“the lottery was conducted – as were the square dances, the teen-age club, the Halloween program – by Mr. Summers, who had the time and energy to devote to civic activities.”
Thus, at this early point in the story, we understand the lottery to be just another civic activity.
That is why we are not at all surprised to see how pleasant the exchange is between Tessie and Mrs. Delacroix. Tessie is running late. She comes “hurriedly along the path to the square” to participate in the lottery. She says to Mrs. Delacroix, who is among the crowd gathered at the town square, “Clean forgot what day it was.” In response, both women “laughed softly.”
At this point, Tessie appears to be a good-humored local. With equal good-humor, Mr. Summers says about her late arrival, “thought we were going to have to get on without you, Tessie.” Everyone in this small town of 300 people is on a first name basis because everyone knows everyone else.
However, then the drawing is made. The Hutchinson family is chosen to select a member. “Suddenly, Tessie Hutchinson shouted to Mr. Summers, “You didn’t give him enough time to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn’t fair!”
She protests and even wants to include her daughter and son-in-law to reduce the chances that she, herself, will be chosen to be stoned to death. She says,
“There’s Don and Eva,” Mrs. Hutchinson yelled. “Make them take their chance!”
Later she says,
“I think we ought to start over,” Mrs. Hutchinson said, as quietly as she could. “I tell you it wasn’t fair. You didn’t give him time enough to choose. Everybody saw that.”