Tien Hanh Lai
"The Possibility of Evil" Three Themes Essay
The short story “The Possibility of Evil,” written by Shirley Jackson, is about an old lady named Miss Strangeworth, who lives in a small and sweet town in all her long life. Miss Strangeworth seems to be a kind and friendly but also a weird and wicked person who always thinks that everyone is evil and lustful. She gives herself the responsibility to watch and to send people secret letters to point out their unknown mistakes. However, she never expects that she would get caught someday by her secret actions until she receives a threatening letter that tells her to be aware of what used to be her roses. Throughout the story, there are three themes about life lessons that the readers should not ignore: “always check personal belongings carefully before leaving,” “underneath the good moral, there is a bad one,” and “be kind to people.”
The first theme is that people should always check their personal belongings carefully before leaving. This theme is inferred because it is not stated in the story, and it means that if someone is too careless to check his/her personal things, other people might find out his/her secrets and spread them out to others. Jackson describes Miss Strangeworth’s carelessness in detail when she drops one of her letter out and does not hear someone is calling her to tell her that she drops something, “She slipped her letters into the slot, and two of them fell inside. The third caught on the edge and fell outside, onto the ground at Miss Strangeworth’s feet. She did not notice it … wearily Miss Strangeworth turned to go home to her bed in her lovely
house and never heard the Harris boy calling to her to say that she had dropped something” (Jackson 6). Because Miss Strangeworth is careless to check out if her three mails has all ...
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