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Hidden Truths in The Possibility of Evil” by Shirley Jackson Essay

Decent Essays
Underneath a good moral, there could be a hidden truth. In, “The Possibility of Evil”, Shirley Jackson shows how the protagonist, Miss Strangeworth presumes she is protecting her neighborhood by eliminating the evil that exists within her community, but ironically, she is the most evil neighbor of all. In the beginning, the community considers Miss Strangeworth an old, caring and respected woman. Throughout the story, a handful of community members realize Miss Strangeworth is a bitter, insensitive woman, who is creating more evil in the neighborhood. In other words, Miss Strangeworth’s intentions to rid her neighborhood of evil, ultimately has the opposite effect and ironically creates more dilemma.
To start with, as the story begins
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Thus, Miss Strangeworth is considered a respected and caring old woman, which the community can look up to.
Throughout the story, some community members realize Miss Strangeworth is a bitter and insensitive old woman, whose intentions to rid of evil backfire and end up creating more trouble for her. Firstly, Miss Strangeworth writes insensitive and harsh letters to community members, writing letters to her neighbors with her unwanted opinions. Miss Strangeworth writes a letter to the same young couple that asks for her guidance, “DIDN’T YOU EVER SEE AN IDIOT CHILD BEFORE? SOME PEOPLE JUST SHOULDN’T HAVE CHILDREN, SHOULD THEY?”(3). Here, Miss Strangeworth expresses her harsh words to the young couple about their child. She feels like she is giving them the right advice to raise a child and rid evil from her community, but her harsh words are hurting her neighbors and creating more trouble for them. Secondly, Miss Strangeworth feels like she is ridding her town of evil and is the only saviour for the community. Miss Strangeworth thinks it’s her “duty to keep her town alert…there were so many wicked people in the world” (3). Miss Strangeworth thinks of herself as the only one attempting to prevent evil as there is too much evil in the world now days. She feels as if she is doing her job and there is nothing wrong with what she is doing. Lastly, as Miss Strangeworth thinks very highly of her
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