The Possibility of Evil

Topics: The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, William Faulkner Pages: 4 (1206 words) Published: October 16, 2002
Shelly Moy
N. Regan
September 19, 2002
"Evil: A Host of Happiness"

In the short stories "A Rose For Emily," by William Faulkner and "The Possibility of Evil," by Shirley Jackson both authors create similar characters and settings that illustrate daring images of evil. Both Emily Grierson and Adela Strangeworth are women who share similar characteristics yet pose completely different motives. Their stories take place in close-knit towns, which play essential roles in their motives for evil. Emily Grierson and Adela Strangeworth demonstrate similarities and differences that develop their actions, revealing the possibility of evil within them.

Both towns that Emily Grierson and Adela Strangeworth exist in are important settings for their actions. Without their towns both women may not have faced their disastrous conclusions. Emily Grierson's position in her town was not chosen, it was handed down to her by her father as an aristocrat of her small town. Her town alienated her and placed her under the high expectations of a classic southern aristocrat. They treated Emily as "a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation" (FAULKNER 89). Her town's nosiness kept her from the man she loved and ultimately alienated her from all parts of the town. Emily Grierson's role in her town was chosen for her. However, Adela Strangeworth's role was one she chose herself. Adela Strangeworth's position was the exact opposite of Emily Grierson's. Adela Strangeworth was involved with everyone's business, "This was, after all, her town, and these were her people; if one of them was in trouble, she ought to know about it" (JACKSON 469). She wrote them secret, mean and hateful letters in reciprocation to their evil actions, which began to ruin their lives. Her nosiness, not the towns, drove her to her final fate. Both towns played an essential role in developing the women's evil actions. Emily Grierson and Adela Strangeworth both...
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