The battered black box in Shirley Jackson's"The Lottery" represents an aging custom in a town where tradition matters most. Jackson pays homage to the peculiar rituals of the lottery by including insightful and vivid details to heighten reader interest.
Even the lottery organizer Mr. Summers spoke "frequently to the villagers about making a new box, but no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box." Jackson uses the aged and decrepit box as a metaphor for the lottery itself. The townspeople are so entrenched in their traditions, that they cannot even see fit to replace them when they have outlived their usefulness. The lottery itself, as archaic as it is, remains steadfast in the town; the people fear upsetting the status quo.