illustrated portrait of American author Shirley Jackson

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Identify significant differences between "The Lottery" and "The Possibility of Evil." 

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In both stories, someone is attempting to hold on to a past that feel somehow better, perhaps more innocent or more traditional; however, in "The Possibility of Evil," it is Miss Strangeworth, and in "The Lottery," it is the town itself. At seventy-one years of age, Miss Strangeworth seems like a bit of a remnant, insisting that the grocer remember when she buys tea, tending to the roses that her grandmother planted generations ago, and living as though "the town belonged to her" because of how long her family has lived there:

The town where she lived had to be kept clean and sweet, but people everyone were lustful and evil and degraded, and needed to be watched; the world was so large, and there was only one Strangeworth left in it.

To say that the town must be "kept" clean and sweet implies that it used to be those things and that Miss Strangeworth feels some responsibility to maintain it in the face of what she sees as impending change. She believes, in fact, that it is actually her job to do so, because she is the last of her family line. Nevermind that she lies and causes pain to others, she feels that the ends justify the means: maintaining tradition and innocence.

In "The Lottery," on the other hand, the town itself—rather than one individual—has taken a similar position. Despite there being talk in other towns about doing away with the lottery "no one [in this town] liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box," which they use to conduct the drawing. Mr. Summers, who runs the lottery, always talks about building a new box since the current one grows "shabbier each year" and is "splintered badly along one side." People here are, in fact, so desirous of maintaining tradition that they aren't even willing to consider replacing the box, let alone reconsidering the justice of the lottery itself. Old Man Warner says,

Listening to the young folks, nothing's good enough for them. Next thing you know, they'll be wanting to go back to living in caves, nobody work any more, live that way for a while [....]. There's always been a lottery [...].

Again, an older person takes issue with the perceived values of the younger, and Old Man Warner seems to speak for the town (whose residents won't even seriously consider using a new box that isn't broken down). In this story, then, it is the town holding on to the past and the individual— Tessie Hutchinson—being punished for it; in the first story, it is one individual holding on to the past and the town being punished for it.

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The original question had to be edited down.  One particular difference between both stories is that the role of the community is portrayed differently.  In "The Lottery," the community is shown to be a force of terror.  The community is responsible for the perpetration of evil, in this case with Tessie.  The community's tradition of stoning an individual is reflective of this terror.  The agent of action in such destruction is the community.

In "The Possibility of Evil," it is the individual that is responsible for social destruction.  Miss Strangeworth is a "one woman wrecking crew" of the social fabric.  In a way, she terrorizes the community.  No one else can do what she does.  The community is one in which individuals are on their own, except for Miss Strangeworth's intrusiveness.  In this narrative, the individual, not the community, is responsible for the terror in the community.  Both works detail how the destruction of the social fabric is a part of the small town experience.  Yet, in each, the agents of action for this destruction differs.

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