The Possibility of Evil

Good Essays
In your personal opinion, is Adela Strangeworth inherently evil or was evil something that was socially constructed within her as a person? Explain.

In the short story “The Possibility of Evil,” Adela Strangeworth is made out to be a sweet innocent old lady living a perfect life. Everyone in her town seems to think that Adela is just some old lady who is really friendly and who cares for her neighbors. In reality, she walks around town acting like she is perfect and then goes home and writes nasty anonymous letters, gossiping about her fellow town members. Adela Strangeworth is a hypocrite. The Harris boy delivered one of the anonymous letters that he saw Adela drop to Don Crane, the addressee. The letter was especially nasty because it targeted Don Cranes child and was written based on some concern that Helen Crane had entrusted her with earlier that day. “Didn’t you ever see an idiot child before? Some people just shouldn’t have children should they?” (Page 169) When Adela herself received a letter the next day saying watch out for her precious roses, she cried because she could not believe how evil the person who sent the letter was being. She was being a hypocrite because she herself was being evil and sending out nasty letter herself the whole time. There are a lot of people who are like that in this world.
I do not believe that people are born this way. Everyone is born with not much of a personality and then their personality and who they become to be are developed as they grow older. Adela may have been a really nice person growing up but the way she was brought up and the way she was treated affected who she was to be in the future. I personally know a lot of people like Adela in this world. I am friends with people like Adela in the world. Even I, myself, have acted like her. She may be a hypocrite, but most of the time, so is everybody else. I have a friend who always judges people based on what they do but then when they judge her, she gets mad.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Satisfactory Essays

    The Possibility of Evil

    • 316 Words
    • 2 Pages

    The Possibility of Evil The Possibility of Evil is full of literary devices. The one that is mostly used throughout this short story is irony. A lot of things that appear to be one way, turn out to be another.This story leaves a feeling as if everyone can be evil… To portray this feeling the author uses three various types of irony; situational, dramatic and verbal. Dramatic irony plays a big part in what makes this story interesting to the readers. In the short-story it says "she was fond…

    • 316 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Better Essays

    The Possibility of Evil

    • 1206 Words
    • 5 Pages

    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…

    • 1206 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Possibility of Evil

    • 280 Words
    • 2 Pages

    In “The Possibility of Evil” The main character Mrs. Strangeworth shows one personality and keeps the other private. The one she shows gets others people impression as a kind and respected old lady. Mrs. Strangeworth’s private personality was very rude and disrespectful. The author uses characterization to show two sides of Mrs. Strangeworth’s personality. Mrs. Strangeworth’s public personality was like her beautiful rose house. Everyone in town everyone around the neighborhood would greet her wherever…

    • 280 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Possibility Of Evil

    • 253 Words
    • 2 Pages

    The Possibility of Evil by Shirley Jackson is about an elderly lady named Ms Strangeworth, who believes that it is her responsibility to keep her town from ‘evil’. Ms Strangeworth tends to her roses daily, making sure they are as perfect as they could be. However never letting anyone take them; saying they “belong on Pleasant Street”. After completing a few errands, Ms Strangeworth finds herself in a conversation with Helen Crane: a newly wed woman with a six-month old baby. They speak a few minutes…

    • 253 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The possibility of Evil

    • 509 Words
    • 3 Pages

    When the hurly-burly’s done, When the battle’s lost and won. Second witch to others We’ll meet when the noise of the war is over, when one side has won and the other side has lost. Control the mood of the story Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee: Macbeth to himself Do I see a knife in front of me, with its handle pointing upon my fingers? Come, let me hold you. He is going to kill the key by the dagger. ( foreshadowing)…

    • 509 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    “Possibility of Evil” written by Shirley Jackson, Ms. Strangeworth is a woman of great moral standing. Ms. Strangeworth believes the town is corrupted and Ms. Strangeworth wants to help cure it. The author helps the readers believe the story by describing Ms. Strangeworth in great detail. The author makes the audience realize she is a mean old lady that writes atrocious letters to her friends. In everyone’s life there is at least one mean old lady now it’s time to meet Ms. Strangeworth. Ms. Strangeworth…

    • 374 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Amir Shaukat Mr. Haruschuk ENG 2D1-07 April 27, 2012 Retribution in The Possibility of Evil In society today, justice is served in order to attain fairness and moral equality. In Shirley Jacksons The Possibility of Evil, justice is served by seeking revenge, the main character got a taste of their own medicine and suffered for her actions. The first demonstration of justice was when Bob Crane retaliated by sending a letter to Mrs. Strangeworth stating, “Look out at what used to be your…

    • 347 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    theme of “The Possibility of Evil” by Shirley Jackson is how someone seems on the outside, is not necessarily how they are on the inside. This is shown through the author’s use of irony, symbolism, and characterization. Irony was used in the story to show how looks can be deceiving because one’s outside appearance and one’s authentic self can be two very different things. Miss Strangeworth claims that she believes she is doing the right thing, when in reality she is creating the evil that she is…

    • 608 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Must contradictory personalities get the best of us? “The Possibility of Evil”, a short story by Shirley Jackson focused on the odd behavior of Miss Strangeworth. Though Miss Strangeworth do not change throughout the story, people just don’t know how awful she is. Miss Strangeworth has written small anonyms notes filled with cruel comments about toward her towns folks throughout the story. Miss Strangeworth enjoyed writing harsh letters to her neighbors, showing her jealous personality towards…

    • 513 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Everybody has evil in them. No matter how nice, pleasant, or sweet that person is; everyone carries evil inside. Whether they show it or psychology know they are evil, is up to them. In the “possibility of Evil” by Shirley Jackson, Miss Strangeworth has that evil in her and it is expressed through her age, education, and personal ambition. First, in the physiology section the reader can learn that Miss Strangeworth acts the way she does because of her old age. In the short story, Miss Strangeworth…

    • 518 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays