What do you think this story is saying about crime and criminals?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that Jackson is masterful in being able to make clear that the small actions that are engaged in on a daily basis can contain a darker side to them.  For example, I believe that Jackson's point about gossip is not merely "light" or trivial.  It is something that contains destruction within it, ruining the lives of the very people that Miss Strangeworth professes to help.  This destruction and the premeditated way she goes about her deeds is criminal in its essence. It is here where Jackson makes clear that "criminal" does Crime is not something that "others" do, but rather something in which we do with our daily intent to hurt others and consolidate power.  "Crime" and "Criminal behavior"  do not have to be terms for behavior of "others" or those "out there."    It can be seen in the harmless actions in day to day life.  In these actions, where the intent is definable and recognizable, it is criminal to go about and hurt people in such a way as to consolidate control and power.  In this, Jackson's narrative forces the reader to examine oneself and how "the possibility of evil" is evident in our own lives for if we are willing to see where this propensity exists, we are also able to identify where crime and criminal behavior lies in our world.  It is only in this recognition where we are able to accept and stamp it out once and for all.