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Shealynn Takash Professor Allen English 20 29 February 2000 THE BLACK BOX SYMBOLIC OF DEATH AND FADED TRADITIONS While the setting of Shirley Jacksons The Lottery takes place on a clear sunny June day it does not take long for the skies to turn gray as she introduces the readers to the black box The black box is the central symbol of the short story It suggest both death and necessity of change due to a combination of the passage of time and population expansion The reference to the black box as a symbol of death can be seen in many instances throughout the story For example when the box is first introduced the villagers kept their distance leaving a space between themselves and the stool which the box was placed on People are afraid and the distance they kept was not due to their fear of the box but of what the box stood for death This point is further illustrated through the manner in which the box was stored The rest of the year the box was put away sometimes one place sometimes another it had spent one year in Mr Graves barn and another year underfoot in the post office and sometimes it was set on a shelf in the Martin grocery and left there Death is not something that people deal with everyday Human beings deal with death very similar to the way that the towns people stored the black box People place their experiences with death in different rooms and shelves of their hearts The black box also symbolizes the need for a new tradition and the reluctance of the townspeople to accept change The black box is a symbol of the lottery itself The physical appearance of the box suggest that it was not only the black box that needed to be replaced but the tradition of the lottery The black box
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