How is the black box symbolic in "The Lottery"?

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Because it has been passed down from generation to generation, the black box of "The Lottery" is a piece of town history and tradition. Everyone knows what it represents and how it functions, and although it has been scuffed and damaged, it still holds power through its ritual.

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Because it has been passed down from generation to generation, the black box of "The Lottery" is a piece of town history and tradition. Everyone knows what it represents and how it functions, and although it has been scuffed and damaged, it still holds power through its ritual.

There was a story that the present box had been made with some pieces of the box that had preceded it, the one that had been constructed when the first people settled down to make a village here.
(Jackson, "The Lottery," classicshorts.com)

The box serves as a reminder of the town's history. This reminder tells the people that they should keep the lottery going, because of the sacrifices made by their ancestors; they don't want to be responsible for breaking the unbroken chain of lotteries that has left the town successful. However, it also symbolizes death, as the paper picked from it will lead directly to a person being stoned; despite its representation of a rich cultural heritage, the box is a morbid symbol for the powers of tradition and fear.

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