This article by
experts contains all the information about the characters in
by Shirley Jackson: Tessie Hutchinson, Bill Hutchinson, Mr. Summers, Old Man Warner, and others. In the first section, you’ll find
🗺️ The Lottery: Character Map
Below you’ll find a character map of
by Shirley Jackson.
🙅 Tessie Hutchinson
Tessie Hutchinson, the main character in
, is the lady who “wins” being stoned to death at the end of the story.
She stands out of the crowd of the villagers from the moment she arrives at the meeting.
Mrs. Hutchinson supposedly forgets about the date of the lottery and rushes to the square. She is the last one to come, and her appearance is far from being neat, which makes her some sort of a black ship at the gathering. Everyone else is exceptionally focused on the lottery and treats it with respect and some fear.
It’s important to note how she jokes around while joining the rest of her family. It seems like Tessie is quite confident that her husband won’t draw the marked piece of paper. However, when it happens, the woman is the first and only to protest against it (even her husband shushes her).
You didn’t give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn’t fair!
There is a
It may seem like Mrs. Hutchinson is the only character in
who openly protests against the old tradition.
On the other hand, it might be a matter of pure egoism, and she would gladly throw stones at someone else. Since she cries out how unfair the result is, the second option is more realistic.
Why Was Tessie Killed In The Lottery?
Even though the selection process is supposed to be extremely random, there might be a reason why Tessie was killed in
. First of all, it’s deeply ironic that the person who arrives late disrespects the tradition and doesn’t take it all seriously gets the marked piece of paper.
Secondly, she might be posed as
a threat to the usual way of life
. Tessie disrupts the order by being late and neglecting the respect she is supposed to show. Therefore, she has to be eliminated. We will never know how “fair” the lottery is, but it seems like Shirley Jackson creates a parallel with the situation in the real world.
👨🌾️ Bill Hutchinson
, Bill Hutchinson is the law-obedient husband of Mrs. Hutchinson.
When Tessie starts yelling about how unfair the result is, Bill quickly tells her to shut up.
Moreover, he is the one to pull out the marked piece of paper from her hands to show it off.
Bill Hutchinson went over to his wife and forced the slip of paper out of her hand. It had a black spot on it, the black spot Mr. Summers had made the night before with the heavy pencil in the coal-company office. Bill Hutchinson held it up, and there was a stir in the crowd.
However, it is not easy to define if he agrees with the traditional stoning or doesn’t want to be shamed.
Even though Bill is not one of the significant characters in
, he plays his role well. Mrs. Hutchinson appears as
a counterpart to his impulsive and hectic wife
, creating some sort of balance.
🤠 Mr. Summers
One of the characters who doesn’t affect the development of the plot but remains somewhat crucial in
is Mr. Summers.
Despite the fact that Mr. Summers has a busy and successful life, the villagers pity him for having an unhappy marriage.
He was a round-faced, jovial man and he ran the coal business, and people were sorry for him, because he had no children and his wife was a scold.
The readers also have a chance to find out that
Mr. Summers introduces many modern improvements in the city
. For instance, he persuaded people that using paper instead of wood for the lottery is better. Moreover, he volunteers as an organizer in other social events and clubs, representing some sort of progressiveness in that small traditional village.
👴 Old Man Warner
Old Man Warner is a grumpy old guy who doesn’t miss a chance to express his point of view. He must be the oldest citizen in the village and remembers the times when the ritual was very different from how it happens now.
Old Man Warner represents one of the main themes of the short story – the power of tradition.
Old Man Warner has survived seventy-seven lotteries and hasn’t seen anything other than the good it brings upon their harvest.
Used to be a saying about ‘Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon.’ First thing you know, we’d all be eating stewed chickweed and acorns. There’s always been a lottery.
He is afraid that if they break the rules, they will be punished. However, it only proves how deep his
How Does Old Man Warner Feel about the Lottery?
Old Man Warner strongly believes in the powers of the sacrifice.
He thinks that the crops can’t grow without the lottery, and people will be starving to death.
He never has any doubts about the ritual and doesn’t approve that other villages refused to continue stoning random people.
Pack of crazy fools. Listening to the young folks, nothing’s good enough for them. Next thing you know, they’ll be wanting to go back to living in caves, nobody work any more, live that way for a while.
🎭 Other Characters
Little Davy is the youngest of Hutchinson’s children. Despite his young age, he also participates in the lottery. Mr. Graves even has to assist him when it’s his time to draw the paper from the black box.
It’s quite horrific to think about it, but little Davy Hutchinson has the same chances of being stoned to death as the other four members of their family. Even though the village citizens are relieved when his piece of paper appears blank, they wouldn’t spare his life if he drew the marked one.
There is not much description of Davy’s character traits for a complete analysis, but his role is precise in this story.
The boy is too little to understand what’s happening, but he is still forced to participate in the awful tradition.
He is even pictured holding some stones at the end.
Davy Hutchinson carries
the symbolism of the indestructibility of the tradition
. The new generation is taught the rules, and it creates the next cycle, allowing the sacrificial event to exist forever. No one asks for an explanation, and no one should question it. Therefore, Davy has to get used to it as soon as possible.
Nancy is one of three kids in Hutchinson’s family. She is probably the only one who has supporters in the crowd. When Nancy draws the slip of paper, her school friends are understandably nervous about her. There is even a girl making a comment in the silence that she hopes Nancy won’t be killed.
Bill Jr. Hutchinson
There is not much to say about the oldest kid of Bill and Tessie. Bill Jr. is not old enough to represent a separate household, so he sticks to his family. He draws the paper and opens it together with his sister. Everybody is relieved and happy when they find out she is out of danger.
Mrs. Janey Dunbar is one of the characters in Shirley Jackson’s
that disrupts the established orders. Her husband can’t attend the meeting because he stays at home with an allegedly broken leg. Everybody seems to cheer Janey up, so her family must be some sort of unique or different.
Jack Watson is a young boy who volunteers to draw on behalf of his family since the father is missing. The villagers support his decision and drop the comments about him being a “good fellow.” The boy seems to be a real support for his mother. Perhaps the Watsons, just like the Dunbars, have lost their family members to the lottery.
The whole Delacroix family appears early on in
the summary of the story
. As a good villager and head of his family, he comes to the square to talk with his neighbors before the event and draws for his family. His family is just like a perfect role model for the rest.
Mrs. Delacroix, keeping the right name of her family, chats with other ladies at the gathering. She comments on Tessie being late and tells her to “be a good sport” and obey the order during the culmination. She is also the only one who talks to the usually silent Mrs. Graves.
We hope that the above information on
characters is useful. Want to learn more about the short story’s meaning? Then check out the