What is the conflict of the story, "One Ordinary Day, with Peanuts"?what is the climax?

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linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Shirley Jackson's story "One Ordinary Day, with Peanuts" does not follow the typical pattern of most short stories. There is no true conflict in the story, no person vs. person or person vs. nature or the like. You could possibly find person vs. society in this story, but only when you've reflected on the way it ends.

You might add a different kind of conflict to describe this story: appearance vs. reality. On the surface, Mr. Johnson appears to be a kindly man who spends his day doing good for other people. The reality, however, is that his good deeds are just a facade. We learn from the surprise ending that his wife has spent the day being mean to other people and that, surprisingly, they take turns being the good guy and the bad guy.

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chloemink | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

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Jackson's technique in many of her stories consists of slowly building up a somewhat commonplace tale about quite commonplace people, then suddenly introducing at the end of the story an ironic shift that will leave readers pondering.

Shirley Jackson's stories often deal with the interplay of good and evil, as this story does. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson are Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde types. As Jackson presents him, Mr. Johnson is tiresomely good. However, one can find clues in the story to suggest that he is not always this way.When Mr. Johnson tells his wife that he had veal cutlet for lunch, he is beginning on the other phase of his personality.

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aly484's profile pic

aly484 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

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Durring the day he makes random acts of kindness. When he comes home he talks to his wife and her day was the exact opisite of his.When the say "do you want to switch" they mean that they switch "being kind to not be"

         moral: people are not who the seem

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