* The elaborate ritual of the lottery is designed so that all villagers have the same chance of becoming the victim—even children are at risk. Each year, someone new is chosen and killed, and no family is safe. Like in the Crucible the villagers focused on maintaining public reputation, the townsfolk of Salem must fear that the sins of their friends and associates will taint their names. Many kept blaming each other so it was almost like they were chose at random because everyone kept getting blamed.
* In “The Lottery” villagers turn against the victim much like many turned on those accused of being a witch. The instant that Tessie Hutchinson chooses the marked slip of paper, she loses her identity as a popular housewife. Her friends and family participate in the killing with as much enthusiasm as everyone else. Tessie essentially becomes invisible to them in the fervor of persecution. Although she has done nothing “wrong,” her innocence doesn’t matter. She has drawn the marked paper—she has herself become marked—and according to the logic of the lottery, she therefore must die.
* Tessie’s death is an extreme example of how societies can persecute innocent people for absurd reasons. Those who are persecuted become “marked” because of a trait or characteristic that is out of their control like in the Crucible they cannot control who was blaming them. Just as the villagers in “The Lottery” blindly follow tradition and kill Tessie because that is what they are expected to do, people in real life often persecute others without questioning why. As Jackson suggests, any such persecution is essentially random, which is why Tessie’s bizarre death is so universal.
* The Crucible is the role that hysteria can play in tearing...