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The tone of the short story is very strange and unknown because we know there was a reason for the lottery, but didn't know what the huge ordeal was.
"The original paraphernalia for the lottery had been lost long ago...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." (Pg.1) "Some places have already quit lotteries." (Pg. 5)
"The black box grew shabbier each year: by now it was no longer completely black but splintered badly along one side to show the original wood color, and in some places faded or stained." (Pg. 2)
Shirley Jackson sets up the theme by starting out with the tradition of gathering in the square on a full summer day for the annual lottery. As the story goes on to describe what the lottery is, she eventually changes the tradition up and the characters feel angry.
The theme of the short story is that things change over time and really never stay the same. As generations go by and new people and things come into play, they change the general way things are done. The world is also changing as well.
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