The Possibility of Evil Questions and Answers

The Possibility of Evil

Miss Strangeworth mainly reveals she is evil through the anonymous, poison pen letters she sends to her small town neighbors. They are filled with cruel statements and false insinuations. For...

Latest answer posted March 19, 2021, 11:07 am (UTC)

4 educator answers

The Possibility of Evil

Miss Strangeworth sees the town as her town. Her grandfather built the first house on Pleasant Street, as she proudly tells tourists, and this gives her a sense of proprietorship over those who...

Latest answer posted March 29, 2021, 11:05 am (UTC)

5 educator answers

The Possibility of Evil

Miss Strangeworth is primarily characterized indirectly in this short story. This means that Jackson mostly shows us what she is like through her actions and thoughts rather than using an...

Latest answer posted September 19, 2020, 12:39 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

The Possibility of Evil

Miss Strangeworth spends her energies in tearing down others. She believes herself to be of the highest character, almost a type of nobility for their small town. Thus, she also believes that she...

Latest answer posted June 1, 2020, 4:55 pm (UTC)

5 educator answers

The Possibility of Evil

Miss Strangeworth is proud of the beautiful pink, red, and white roses that grow in her front yard and are often admired by outsiders. She won't let tourists have them, and when it is time to gives...

Latest answer posted May 14, 2021, 11:51 am (UTC)

4 educator answers

The Possibility of Evil

One of the central themes of "The Possibility of Evil" is that appearances can be deceptive. Jackson shows this most clearly through the character of Miss Adela Strangeworth, who, on the surface,...

Latest answer posted September 21, 2016, 11:23 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Possibility of Evil

Miss Strangeworth and Mrs. Harper know each other fairly well. They belong to the same bridge club and call each other by their first names, as they do when they happen to meet in the grocery store...

Latest answer posted January 17, 2016, 2:29 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Possibility of Evil

The main conflict in "The Possibility of Evil" takes place within Miss Strangeworth's psyche. A strong desire to look perfect—to have the perfect house, garden, china, and silver, and to appear a...

Latest answer posted May 15, 2021, 12:00 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Possibility of Evil

Details of the setting put this story, published in 1965, in the world of the 1940s or 1950s. (Even if Jackson meant the story to take place in the 1960s, she is indicating that the town has a...

Latest answer posted December 11, 2019, 5:41 pm (UTC)

4 educator answers

The Possibility of Evil

In "The Possibility of Evil," Shirley Jackson responds to her view that society is too quick to judge people based upon outward appearances. The people in Miss Strangeworth's town believe that Miss...

Latest answer posted September 20, 2010, 1:09 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Possibility of Evil

In "The Possibility of Evil," Miss Strangeworth is particularly enamored with her roses, which have been in her family for generations. As the community busybody and self-appointed arbiter of...

Latest answer posted May 15, 2021, 2:15 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Possibility of Evil

Miss Strangeworth is the descendant of her town's founders, has a beautiful rose garden on Pleasant Street, and acts as if she is full of kindness, caring, and supportive concern for all her...

Latest answer posted May 14, 2021, 11:32 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Possibility of Evil

Generally, people in the town are fond of Miss Strangeworth and we can see this from their interactions with her. When she goes to the grocery, for example, she is instantly acknowledged by other...

Latest answer posted June 4, 2016, 7:21 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

The Possibility of Evil

As an eccentric woman with an overstated sense of personal responsibility toward her townspeople, Mrs. Strangeworth believes that she has the ability to control the town that views her as a sort of...

Latest answer posted January 24, 2015, 1:40 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Possibility of Evil

Like any short story, "The Possibility of Evil" shares the usual literary devices and elements. The tale follows a common plot arc of exposition to resolution as we learn what type of person Miss...

Latest answer posted November 25, 2019, 3:14 pm (UTC)

4 educator answers

The Possibility of Evil

It would appear that Miss Strangeworth does not understand her own motive or motives for writing her anonymous letters. She rationalizes that it is her civic duty to keep the citizens of her town...

Latest answer posted March 18, 2016, 2:03 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Possibility of Evil

The title of the story refers primarily to Miss Strangeworth's obsession with the morality of the people in her town. She believes it is her responsibility to watch for evil behavior in everybody...

Latest answer posted March 10, 2016, 5:56 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Possibility of Evil

Even at the beginning of "The Possibility of Evil," when Miss Strangeworth seems to be a relatively benign and harmless character, there is a faint foreshadowing of the truth when she tells...

Latest answer posted May 16, 2021, 11:58 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Possibility of Evil

Miss Strangeworth is a complex character. She believes it is her civic duty as the town's oldest resident and descendant of the town's founders to act as a sort of guardian of public morality. The...

Latest answer posted June 24, 2016, 11:46 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Possibility of Evil

When Miss Strangeworth goes to the post office to mail the three anonymous letters she had written earlier that day, she overhears part of a conversation between Linda Stewart and Dave Harris....

Latest answer posted January 11, 2016, 7:12 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Possibility of Evil

Miss Strangeworth is aware that Linda Stewart and Dave Harris are having some problems involving their relationship. Many people seemed disturbed recently, Miss Strangeworth thought. Only...

Latest answer posted November 1, 2015, 5:10 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Possibility of Evil

The main lesson about human nature we should derive from "The Possibility of Evil" is that we should not judge people by the personas they present. Miss Strangeworth seems to be a sweet, kindly...

Latest answer posted March 1, 2016, 1:32 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Possibility of Evil

In Shirley Jackson's "The Possibility of Evil," the main character, Miss Adela Strangeworth, believes her family has contributed a great amount to the town in which she lives. Her familiar pride...

Latest answer posted July 12, 2018, 9:34 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Possibility of Evil

In "The Possibility of Evil," Miss Strangeworth's name is significant for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the word "strange" suggests that there is something different and unusual about Miss...

Latest answer posted September 18, 2017, 8:20 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Possibility of Evil

The omniscient point of view is important to the overall effectiveness of "The Possibility of Evil" as a story, as it gives us a detached view of life in this small town. Among other things, this...

Latest answer posted December 1, 2018, 6:26 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Possibility of Evil

At the beginning of this story, Jackson creates a calm, serene, and idyllic atmosphere. The sun is "shining," for example, the air is "fresh," and the buildings in the town appear "washed" and...

Latest answer posted October 4, 2017, 6:07 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Possibility of Evil

The story begins on a clear summer's morning in what seems to be a quiet, peaceful town. We are told that the sun is shining and that the air is "fresh and clear." We are also told that, because it...

Latest answer posted May 16, 2021, 1:21 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Possibility of Evil

Miss Strangeworth has a very good reputation in town. She's seen as a kindly, harmless little old lady. She often stops to talk to people in the street on her daily rounds, dispensing advice and...

Latest answer posted December 15, 2017, 7:40 am (UTC)

6 educator answers

The Possibility of Evil

The title of the story "The Possibility of Evil" is a double entendre. Miss Strangeworth is obsessed with the possibility of evil in the citizens of "her town." Yet she doesn't realize that she has...

Latest answer posted December 4, 2015, 12:53 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Possibility of Evil

The writer doesn't directly say who sent the letter, but when Miss Strangeworth accidentally drops it on the floor outside the post office, it is Dave Harris who picks it up. Seeing the letter is...

Latest answer posted February 25, 2019, 9:01 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

The Possibility of Evil

Miss Strangeworth feels that she is the guardian of her town. Her self-righteous attitude towards her fellow townsfolk can be seen in the way she characterizes them. To Miss Strangeworth, everyone...

Latest answer posted October 17, 2016, 9:29 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Possibility of Evil

Mr. Lewis grew up with Miss Strangeworth. They were in high school together, and they shared basketball games and picnics, as well as school dances, but after they graduated and he became the...

Latest answer posted April 30, 2021, 2:59 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Possibility of Evil

In Shirley Jackson's "The Possibility of Evil," Miss Strangeworth leads a double life. She is a revered citizen in the town where she lives, a descendant of one of the town's original founders, but...

Latest answer posted May 16, 2021, 4:55 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Possibility of Evil

The denouement of "The Possibility of Evil" is what we would call a climactic ending. The ending is climactic because it is unmistakably life-changing in nature. Miss Strangeworth's habits are no...

Latest answer posted January 2, 2018, 3:29 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Possibility of Evil

Miss Strangeworth's vicious campaign of poison-pen letter writing is discovered quite by accident. One day, the repugnant little old lady is at the post office, sending off three more of her...

Latest answer posted December 11, 2019, 9:17 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Possibility of Evil

Miss Strangeworth is spreading suspicion all over town with her anonymous poison-pen letters, but she thinks she is only being helpful and does not realize how much harm she is doing. When she goes...

Latest answer posted October 29, 2015, 6:34 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Possibility of Evil

I believe that Miss Strangeworth is sending her poison-pen letters for two reasons. First, she does this because she has very aggressive and very angry feelings towards her neighbors, and second,...

Latest answer posted February 23, 2020, 12:36 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Possibility of Evil

The problem in "The Possibility of Evil" is that Miss Strangeworth doesn't recognize that she, herself, is the wicked evil in town. She sees herself as the helpful person who keeps her town on the...

Latest answer posted October 23, 2018, 5:08 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Possibility of Evil

The author inserts this information during the scene at Miss Strangeworth's home when she is writing three of her anonymous letters. This is to inform the reader that these and similar letters have...

Latest answer posted November 2, 2015, 4:22 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Possibility of Evil

Miss Strangeworth apparently does not understand how much trouble she is causing with her anonymous letters, nor does she seem to be aware of the real reason she is writing them. She tells herself...

Latest answer posted January 19, 2016, 7:36 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Possibility of Evil

In Shirley Jackson’s “Possibility of Evil,” Miss Strangeworth feels justified in sending the letters to the townspeople because she believes that it is her work to keep the town “clean and sweet.”...

Latest answer posted February 24, 2018, 11:06 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Possibility of Evil

According to eNotes "guide to Literary Terms," plot is "this is the arrangement of events to achieve an intended effect consisting of a series of carefully devised and interrelated actions that...

Latest answer posted November 26, 2013, 4:53 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Possibility of Evil

At the beginning of the story Miss Strangeworth is characterized as a sweet, kindly little old lady who lives a very simple life in a small town and who takes an interest in the welfare and...

Latest answer posted January 20, 2016, 4:09 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Possibility of Evil

Jackson’s story is almost a kind of parable, in its directness and brevity. Alert readers will begin to suspect something is up in this little town by the tone of Jackson’s writing—there is an...

Latest answer posted December 22, 2017, 3:12 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Possibility of Evil

If evil is defined as engaging in behavior that is harmful and hurtful to other people and actively being deceptive, then Miss Strangeworth is evil. She writes poison-pen letters that spread false...

Latest answer posted May 14, 2021, 12:17 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Possibility of Evil

Miss Strangeworth is obviously somewhat insane. This makes it hard to understand her motivation. She probably does not understand it herself. There are several plausible reasons why she writes her...

Latest answer posted February 5, 2016, 4:00 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Possibility of Evil

Miss Strangeworth feels that the town belongs to her and therefore that all the people are like tenants or vassals. She feels superior to all of them, and she gets special treatment from most of...

Latest answer posted November 21, 2015, 7:40 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Possibility of Evil

The story presents us with a pretty grim picture of human nature overall. Outwardly, Miss Strangeworth is a harmless, respectable old lady, a pillar of the community. However, in the comfort and...

Latest answer posted December 1, 2017, 7:50 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Possibility of Evil

Miss Strangeworth is very old-fashioned and particular about how people should address one another. She sees herself as the keeper of the flame concerning social etiquette in the town, a living...

Latest answer posted March 4, 2019, 12:44 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Possibility of Evil

In "The Possibility of Evil," Shirley Jackson touches upon a number of social and political issues. One of these is bullying and its impact on the victim. By sending her poison pen letters, Miss...

Latest answer posted August 19, 2016, 11:52 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

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