is this story realistic, or is jackson using these events to represent something else?
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In our modern world, the lottery has no basis in reality. Jackson uses the "The Lottery" to suggest that at times tradition is outdated and should be discarded. For example, the black box used by the villagers for the slips of paper is falling apart and needs to be replaced. However, the villagers refuse to replace it—another symbol of their harmful stagnancy. Jackson also portrays the village as having outgrown the tradition through a metaphor regarding the slips of paper. Wood chips were formerly used, but as the town expanded, only large quantities of paper would fit inside the black box. The town has grown out of the tradition, but instead of discarding it, they stubbornly uphold the yearly lottery.