The Embodiment Of Tradition In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

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In Shirley Jackson’s story “The Lottery”, villagers gather in the town square on June 27 where the black box is securely put on the stool to determine the fate of death of the lottery winner. The black box is the physical embodiment of tradition. It supersedes all the power and commitment. It also supersedes bonds and authorities. The people are submissive to the box. Villagers respect and care for it. Over time, the population of the villagers increased, changing the wooden chips to slips of paper. The actual color of the box is not present since it’s getting old and stained. The tradition is what makes the box powerful. The black box represents the ultimate authority of the lottery, physical embodiment of tradition, and destructive power …show more content…
The black box is central to the town, the villagers gather around it. It acts as the keeper of the town because it keeps the faith present. It is the focal point of the lottery. Shirley Jackson presents this centrality by describing how the villagers gather. The men talking about work while women are gossiping. Also the children on the other side are piling up stones: “Soon the men began to gather surveying their own children, speaking of planting and rain, tractors and taxes. The women wearing faded house dresses and sweaters, came shortly to their menfolk. They greeted one another and exchanged bits of gossip as they went to join their husbands.” (Jackson 135) It keeps the villagers together and gathers them on the same time of the year which is held on June 27th. The villagers know and keep in mind that there is a culture being passed on although the villagers don’t know when it …show more content…
It is a representation of death. The name that is chosen from the box is not a lucky winner, that person is chosen to die. This is a symbol of irony. The setting and irony of the story starts when the day is described as a bright sunny day and all the towns’ people are looking forward for the Lottery on the big day, but not knowing the big day ends in death: “The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green.”(Jackson 134) The story makes the lottery seem like it is a good thing, however the readers realize the irony of the situation at the end of the

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