The stones that the villagers use to kill the victim selected by the lottery are mentioned periodically throughout the story. This repetition develops the stones as a symbol of the violence that humans are seemingly always prepared to commit. Young children gather the stones into piles at the beginning of the short story, and at the end the villagers take up these stones to hurl them at Tessie Hutchinson. Even Tessie’s son, little Davy Hutchinson, is offered stones to throw. These weapons are primitive, and in the hands of children they demonstrate the human instinct for violence. This symbolism is reinforced by the statement at the end of the story—that even though the villagers had forgotten the rituals associated with the lottery, “they still remembered to use stones” for the killing. This shows Jackson’s view that violence is fundamental to human nature, something that cannot be forgotten.
Stones Quotes in The Lottery
Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones; Bobby and Harry Jones and Dickie Delacroix—the villagers pronounced this name “Dellacroy”—eventually made a great pile of stones in one corner of the square and guarded it against the raids of the other boys.
Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones. The pile of stones the boys had made earlier was ready; there were stones on the ground with the blowing scraps of paper that had come out of the box…
The children had stones already. And someone gave little Davy Hutchinson a few pebbles.
Tessie Hutchinson was in the center of a cleared space by now, and she held her hands out desperately as the villagers moved in on her. “It isn’t fair,” she said. A stone hit her on the side of the head. Old Man Warner was saying, “Come on, come on, everyone.” Steve Adams was in the front of the crowd of villagers, with Mrs. Graves beside him.
“It isn’t fair, it isn’t right,” Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her.