When could be considered the earliest point in Jackson's short story that something ominous was hapening?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Over time, I have come to the understanding that the exposition of the story indicates to me much in way of something ominous being present.  The almost idyllic description of the town and the children as well as the hustle and bustle that seems to emerge is something I now see as ominous and foreboding.  Yet, in terms of a definite and specific moment, I would say that the black box being carried out with so much in way of delicacy and the formality that surround the procedure of selection helps to bring to mind that there is something happening that cannot be considered good.  This is also brought out in how people choose for the family, the whispering that transpires amongst the townspeople, as well as the seriousness with which the ceremony is greeted.  While Old Man Warner decries the informality that seems to be present, it seemed to me that there was a distinct formality in selection.  With the entire town present, it is one in which I was fairly convinced that there was something bad about to take place, or at the very least, something seemed "off" to me about the entire thing.

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