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The Possibility Of Evil By Shirley Jackson

1350 words - 6 pages

Topic/ Thesis Statement: Don’t judge a book by its cover, some people are not who they claim to be, or looks can be deceiving.
This story revolves around a character known as Miss Adela Strangeworth whose ancestral home is Pleasant Street which also happens to be the setup used to develop the story. However she is from the initial stages of the story portrayed as an old lady that is relatively calm and harmless especially with regards to the lives of her neigbours. She is portrayed in the story with the author as a proud lady who believes in the fact that she owns her town perhaps a factor that is evidenced by the way she interacts with the members of her community. Her constant conversations with the members of the community perhaps paint her as a relatively calm, loving and caring lady to the members of the community.
The theme that has been attached to this story is directly relevant to it as depicted by the anonymous letters which the main character is busy writing secretly based on gossip and distributing them to the different houses. Considering that people have an impression of her being a good woman who is quiet and peaceful, it becomes completely unbecoming that she instead engages in very abnormal behavior. What makes it even more terrible is the fact that she uses gossip as the premise for her to propagate her hate messages not only in a single household but across the many different households in the estate where she stays.
Another factor that clearly brings out the theme is the fact that she claims that orderliness of family roses is her pride. However she may not necessarily be that orderly as depicted in the development of that story. The author of the story Shirley Jackson uses the author and her ambiguous character as an avenue to pass across to the readers that with bad traits, we are bound to makes mistakes. Upon making the mistakes they will openly expose an individual and the people will be able to know people for what they are. Miss Adela Strangeworth’s long held secret is only revealed because of her mistake of dropping one of her letters that are meant to be anonymous.
Miss Adela appears generally gives the impression of being a harmless neighbor although this is not necessarily the case. She secretly does things behind the people against the people of her street who regard her highly. All through the conversations that she is engaged it, it is clear that she makes the people of her street feel secure and safe with her around. However her major adventure is to go around the village in search of gossip whish she majorly hinges on as the basis for the development of her story. What makes her intentions questionable is the fact that she ensures that the letters are written anonymously and delivered in a way that they cannot be retraced back to her (Miller, 3). Were it not for the unfortunate incident of her unknowingly dropping one of her letters, no one would ever be able to retrace the funny incident back to her.
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