The Lottery and Other Stories


7. Take a close look at Jackson's description of the black wooden box (paragraph 5) and of the black spot on the fatal slip of paper (paragraph 72). What do these objects suggest to you? Why is the black box described as "battered"? Are there any other symbols in the story?

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It is ironic that all the trappings and symbols of the original lottery have long been abandoned. The black wooden box had once been ornamented with jewels; now it is faded and falling apart. They used to use wooden chips but have replaced them with scraps of paper and charcoal. This suggests that everything "sacred" about this tradition has ceased to be for a very long time. There used to be songs and chants with children in robes. Now all that is left is the killing, haphazardly carried out by people who remain clueless as to why they are doing it in the first place.