The winner is stoned to death by the people, including children who had unwittingly gathered stones. The mass participation to a pointless killing is horrifying in its traditions and rituals and raises the questions of their relevance.
Obedience and traditions play prominent role in the story that reveals that rituals and customs are often not questioned for their irrelevant consequences. People become accustomed to them for myriad reasons but perhaps the most important reason being that people want to maintain the status quo as it satisfies their inner egotist self that thrives on their unique identity maintained through traditions and social rituals. The detached narrator of the story unfolds the events of the day in a way that gives no inklings to the horrifying end. The sunny day was described as a routine that reflected the casual acceptance of the annual ritual of the lottery which took ‘less than two hours…allow villagers to get home for noon dinner’ (Jackson 7). The tradition of lottery was mainly to ensure that corn crop would have enough rain. The lottery was to choose the human sacrifice to satisfy the rain God.
Though the story highlights the role of traditions in the social structure, it strongly correlates human capacity to bear and conform to the savage rituals not as a rational action but as part of blind obedience that needs to be finished fast so as to continue with the daily routine (Tibbett, 2008). The brutal intentions are mixed with jovial and bonhomie across the gathered people reflects the black humor of the author who excels in depicting the inherent violence within human nature. The black box symbolizes the ominous tradition that people are least bothered to upset.