Mr. Adams is one of the men of the village. While he seems to be one of the few who questions the lottery when he mentions that another village is thinking about giving up the ritual, he stands at the front of the crowd when the stoning of Tessie begins.
Along with Tessie Hutchinson, Mrs. Adams seems to be one of the few women of the village who questions the lottery. She tells Old Man Warner that “some places have already quit lotteries.”
An acquaintance of Tessie Hutchinson’s, Mrs. Delacroix is the first person Tessie speaks to when she arrives late at the lottery. When Tessie protests the method of drawing, it is Mrs. Delacroix who says, “Be a good sport, Tessie.” Mrs. Delacroix, however, is among the most active participants when the stoning begins, grabbing a stone so heavy she cannot lift it. Some critics suggest that Mrs. Delacroix represents the duality of human nature: she is pleasant and friendly on the outside but underneath she possesses a degree of savagery.
Mrs. Janey Dunbar
Janey Dunbar is the one woman at the lottery who has to draw for her family because her husband is at home with a broken leg. When Mr. Summers asks her if she has an older son who can do it for her, she says no and then, regretfully, “Guess I gotta fill in for the old man this year.” She seems to accept the patriarchal system with complacency, but when the stoning begins she picks up only small stones and then says she cannot run and will “catch up.” This is one of the few hopeful and seemingly compassionate actions in the story.
Mr. Graves is the village’s postmaster, the second most powerful official in the community. He helps Joe Summers administer the lottery and, like Summers, represents tradition and the status quo.
Mrs. Graves is one of the female villagers, and she seems to accept the lottery without question. When Tessie complains about the method of the drawing, she snaps, “All of us took the same chance.” She is also at the front of the crowd when the stoning begins.
Bill Hutchinson is Tessie Hutchinson’s husband. When Tessie questions the method of drawing, he says, “Shut up, Tessie”; he also forces the slip of paper with the black spot on it out of her hand and holds it up in front of the crowd. Bill’s control over Tessie highlights the patriarchal system of the village. His unquestioning acceptance of the results of the lottery, despite the victim being his wife, emphasizes the brutality the villagers are willing to carry out in the name of tradition.
A middle-aged housewife and mother of four children, Tessie Hutchinson “wins” the lottery and is stoned to death by her fellow villagers. Tessie arrives late at the event, stating that she forgot what day it was. She questions Joe Summers, the administrator of the lottery, about the fairness of the drawing after her family draws the unlucky slip. She also questions the tradition of married daughters drawing with their husband’s family. When she draws the paper with the black mark on it, Tessie does not show it to the crowd; instead her husband Bill forces it from her hand and holds it up. Tessie’s last words as she is being stoned are,’ ‘It isn’t fair, it isn’t right.” By challenging the results of the lottery, Tessie represents one of the few voices of rebellion in a village controlled by tradition and complacency. Her low status as a woman has also led many critics to state that Tessie’s fate illustrates the authority of men over women.
Mr. Martin is a grocer who holds the lottery box while the slips of paper are drawn by the villagers.
Joe Summers is a revered member of the community, the village’s most powerful and wealthy man, and the administrator of the lottery. He has no children and his wife is described as “a scold.” In addition to representing tradition—he continually stresses the importance of ritual to the survival of the village—his character is said to symbolize the evils of capitalism and social stratification.
Old Man Warner
The oldest man in the village, Old Man Warner has participated in the lottery seventy-seven times. When Mr. Adams remarks to him that another village is thinking about giving up the lottery, Old Man Warner replies,’ ‘Pack of crazy fools.” Resistent to change and representing the old social order, he goes on to insist how important the event is to the survival of the village. When Tessie draws the paper with the black mark on it, Old Man Warner is in the front of the crowd spurring on the others to stone her.
Kathleen Wilson (Editor), Short Stories for Students: Presenting Analysis, Context & Criticism on Commonly Studied Short Stories, Volume 1, Shirley Jackson, Published by Gale, 1997.