In Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," set in a small fictional town on June 27, the townspeople gather to conduct a lottery. At the end of the drawing, one of the townspeople will be dead. The symbols chosen to use are Old Man Warner, the black box, and the stones.
Old Man Warner is the oldest man in the town and he states in the story, "seventy-seventh year I been in the lottery"; he is the only person to survive the lottery for seventy-seven years. We can look at Old Man Warner as a legend in that town for surviving so many lotteries. He has been in the lottery so long that he can tell how the lottery and the townspeople have changed, from the first time he was in it; he says "It's not the way it used to be" and "People ain't the way they used to be".
The black box symbolizes ritual and tradition. The ritual is the sacrifice for the crops each year; the townspeople believe that if they do not make this sacrifice there will not be any crops to harvest for this season. The tradition is that this is an ongoing event, which takes place every year in this small town. The townspeople are accustomed to the tradition that has taken place for as long as they have lived there. Also, I think that the tradition may be getting old and worn out because of the condition that the black box is in, and how it travels from house to house each year.
The stones symbolize man's inhumanity to man because this shows how man can take it upon himself to portray God for as simple as belief that is pointless and is only in the mind. The children set the stones aside to be thrown at the one person that wins the dreaded lottery that every one is so anxious to play. The stones also symbolize death because the townspeople would hurdle stones at the lotto's winner.
Further more, in Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," there are many symbols in the story.