Tessie Hutchinson plays a central role in the story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson. She is the wife of Bill Hutchinson, and the mother of four children: Eva (p.30, l. 38), Bill Jr., Nancy, and Dave (p. 31, ll. 8-9).
Her outer characterisation is brief - she wears a “sweater thrown over her shoulders” (p. 28, l. 3) and an apron (p. 28, l. 9). As her daughter Eva is already married, Tessie Hutchinson is most likely a middle-aged woman. We are not given any details on her occupation, but since the village seems to be a rural, traditional community, she is probably a housewife. This is also suggested through her own words: “‘Wouldn’t have me leave m’dishes in the sink, now, would you, Joe?’” (p. 28, l. 20).
Tessie Hutchinson’s inner characterisation is constructed through her language and her actions, as described by the narrator. At first, Tessie Hutchinson stands out for being forgetful. She arrives late at the gathering, amused by her own forgetfulness: “ ‘Clean forgot what day it was,’ she said to Mrs Delacroix, who stood next to her, and they both laughed softly”. (p. 28, ll. 4-5)
Her sense of humour and quick thinking are als...