"The Lottery " By Shirley Jackson (book report)

Essay by gonsfootballA+, January 2005

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When I think of tradition, I think of something that I do a lot. Some of the traditions that my family and I have are celebrating holidays and birthdays. The story "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson is about a tradition that is falling apart, just like the black box itself. The black box is used as a symbol of death. People are afraid of the black box. When the lottery is not being held, the black box is abandoned and not taken care of. Many of the villagers seem like they want to give up the lottery, and get rid of the black box.

When the people of the village come to the center of the village, where the lottery takes place, they are all quiet, and tense. Even the young boys start in an uneasy group before running to play. As the box is brought in, everyone quiets, and there is an awkward silence because they know that the lottery is about to start.

"The villagers kept their distance, leaving a space between themselves and the stool." (Jackson, p. 54) People were afraid of the box, and hesitated to help when they were asked.

The tradition of the lottery is falling apart. This is shown by the condition of the box itself. The box is falling apart. The paint is chipping off, the sides are splintered, and it is stained. When the villagers are asked to re-build the box, they just forget about it. The same box is used every year, though some of the rituals are not performed anymore. One ritual that is not performed anymore is that the person in charge of the lottery is not supposed to talk to the people drawing from the box.

The people of the town can't decide if they...