The Lottery Key Plot Points
by Shirley Jackson

The Lottery book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Download The Lottery Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Key Plot Points

On June 27th, the Townspeople Assemble: It is a beautiful summer day in an unnamed village. The children play and gather stones in a large pile. The men chat about the weather, farming, and taxes. The women gossip. Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves bring out the supplies for the lottery: a black box, a three-legged stool, and slips of paper. 

Mrs. Hutchinson Is Late: Tessie Hutchinson arrives after most others have gathered. She explains that she forgot which day it was. Mrs. Delacroix reassures her that she isn’t too late, and Mrs. Hutchinson goes to stand with her husband. 

The Lottery Begins: The lottery is organized by family, and the men draw slips of paper for their respective families. One exception is Mrs. Dunbar, who draws for her family in her husband’s absence. After each household’s representative has drawn, they look at their paper to discover the winner. 

The Hutchinsons Proceed to Round Two: The Hutchinson family moves to the second round. Mrs. Hutchinson begins to protest that her husband didn’t get a fair draw. As she becomes increasingly frantic, Mrs. Delacroix tells her to “be a good sport” and her husband tells her to “shut up.” Each member of the Hutchinson family prepares to draw a slip of paper from the box. 

The Townspeople Stone Mrs. Hutchinson to Death: When Mrs. Hutchinson draws the unlucky slip of paper, she protests that “It isn’t fair, it isn’t right.” Nevertheless, the townspeople proceed to execute her according to their custom. Mrs. Delacroix struggles because the stone she picks up is so large, and someone helps Mrs. Hutchinson’s young son Dave by giving him pebbles.