A Black Box, Stones, And The Actions Of Mr. Summers Essays

A Black Box, Stones, And The Actions Of Mr. Summers Essays

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Tradition roams the street speaking of good intentions, but holds motives of evil. Many traditions, such as human sacrifice, were practiced by many civilizations to appease their god(s). The practice of human sacrifice has been extinct for centuries because people began to understand how morbid, barbaric, and unfair the old ways were. This could not be said about the town depicted in Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery.” Darkness is revealed in many ways throughout the story. A black box, stones, and the actions of Mr. Summers symbolizes the macabre traditions of the town.
The black box presented in the story may represent death. Death has been personified and represented in many ways throughout history. Shirley Jackson uses a simple black box passed down from generation to generation in the town. The physical appearance of the box supports the idea of it being death. The box is said to be “no longer completely black but splintered badly along one side to show the original wood color, and in some places faded or stained,” (Jackson 134). The box was worn down from years of use, mimicking the weathered and dead look of the grim reaper. The box also has no permanent storing place or home. It was moved to different locations every year and was treated as a meaningless object. The treatment of the box contradicts the importance placed upon it by the townspeople. Just like death, the box is important but forgotten until it appears in the lives of the townspeople again. The appearance of the box means death for another person. The contents of the box are responsible for the death of an individual. The townspeople receive slips from the black box that are all blank, except one. The non-blank paper has a black dot that means death. The black b...

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...th her tirade, but he did his best to explain things to Tessie to calm her and prevent outrage from the others. The townsfolk could have grown upset that she was bluntly going against their rules. A god does not always interfere unless deemed necessary and this was necessary. Mr. Summers was a symbol of a gentle god whom was given an unfortunate task.
Death, barbarianism, and a god are all represented in “The Lottery” with two simple objects and a person. The town shows its dark side in these few ways. Mr. Summers acted as a god when administering the lottery and used a black box to deliver death to the townspeople by stoning. People were once okay with performing rituals such as stoning because of superstitions that were passed down from generation to generation. Jackson not only uses the symbols to show the dark side of the town, but the dark side of humanity.

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