The Possibility of Evil Questions and Answers
by Shirley Jackson

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What is the characterization of Miss Strangeworth?

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It would be fair to call Miss Strangeworth a reactionary. She is deeply averse to change or variation in the narrow existence in which she defines herself and her neighbors. Miss Strangeworth has extremely rigid notions about the unwritten rules of society and makes it her mission to try to correct what she sees as deviations from the norm through her anonymous letter-writing campaign.

Though she finds quite a lot to criticize in her neighbors, Miss Strangeworth is completely self-satisfied. She revels in her roses, her ritualized meals, and her schedule. When Miss Strangeworth is forced to confront the fact that she has been found out as the anonymous letter-writer, she fails to recognize her own evil and remains focused on the wrongdoings of others instead of considering that perhaps she has brought the destruction of her roses on herself.

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Miss Strangeworth is a complex character. The entire story is actually about the difference between appearance and reality in this woman's...

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