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The Lottery - Symbolism

            A way to link families and generations together is significant in small towns. Shirley Jackson points out the appreciation and respect that people have for their traditions. She writes that the villagers don't really have an answer of when the tradition started, but they try to preserve the tradition as much as possible. In, "The Lottery," traditions form the community's real life actions, even though the villagers' forgot the meaning of the tradition.
             The lottery itself represents unquestioned traditions and rituals that managed their society. It symbolizes many of our social problems that we blindly continue even though they are outdated. The villagers fully believe in, "Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon" because it ensures them a good harvest later that year. The lottery is an example of what can happen when traditions are not questioned or addressed critically by new generations. The result of this tradition is that everyone becomes obligated to murder on an annual basis because that's all they are known to do. .
             Old Man Warner cherishes the lottery because he is a faithful supporter for keeping the traits exactly how they are. Mr. and Mrs. Adams bring to Old Man Warner's attention that the other towns are thinking about and have already given up the lottery. He replies with, "Next thing you know, they'll be wanting to go back to living in caves. There's always been a lottery." He considers the villages' and young people that have stopped the lotteries as "crazy fools" because he fears the idea of change. Nevertheless, the lottery continues because there has always been a lottery in the past. .
             The black box is a physical demonstration of the villagers' connection to tradition and death. The purpose of the box, like the lottery itself, is unclear with the passage of time. "The black box grew shabbier each year; by now it was no longer completely black but splintered badly along one side to show the original wood color, and in some places faded or stained.

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