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The Lottery (Death and sin Symbolized by Black)

             The symbolism of black in the short story "The Lottery"* by Shirley Jackson. I believe the color black in this story "The Lottery" has the universal meaning of death and sin, which are often depicted as the same thing and are interchangeable. Death we find contained in a shabby black box and sin just happens to come along as a black dot on a square of plain paper. This lottery Shirley Jackson writes about has a totally different outcome then most conventional lottery .The lottery is played to actually pick out that years sacrificial "human" lamb. The black box that holds all the folded paper with the names of the town folks is the perfect symbol of death; not only is everyone's name in it but no one knows when their name with the black dot will come up. We find out quickly in the story that this lottery has been around for a long time: "There was a story that the present box had been made with some of the box that had preceded it, the one that had been constructed when the first people had settled down to make a village here (256). This indicates that no one, not even the oldest living resident, actually knows when death or sin crept into their little village only that it had been around for as long as they had existed.
             This black box then has been with them for time eternal and since time eternal humankind has been haunted by death and its meaning. Like death this black box is not greeted with open arms "The villagers kept their distance, leaving a space between themselves and the stool (255)" which the black box had been sat upon. This black box is not something to be embraced but it seems with the towns folk gathering perhaps out of morbid curiosity year after year to hold this dammed lottery that it has become a tradition something that is done with not much thought but as a repetitive motion something that is outside of their control.

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