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THE POSSIBILITY OF EVIL

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Malalay Habib

on 22 October 2013

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Transcript of THE POSSIBILITY OF EVIL

THE POSSIBILITY OF EVIL
Literary Devices
The use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities. An artistic and poetic movement or style using symbolic images and indirect suggestions to express mystical ideas, and emotions.
Lauren Fuerderer, Malalay Habib, Meagan Ng
Author Biography
Shirley Hardie Jackson was born December 14, 1916 and passed away August 8, 1965. Born in San Francisco, California. She was a popular American author in her time, writing novels and short stories all falling under the genres of mystery and horror. She wrote these stories basing them on the dark, distressed and violent times of humanity. Shirley died of heart failure in her sleep at her residence in North Bennington at the age of 48. In 2007, the Shirley Jackson Awards was created in recognition of the legacy she has left behind. The award is now given to writers for outstanding horror and dark fantasy texts.
Point of View:
First Person: In the first person point of view, the narrator participates in the action of the story.

Omniscient: In omniscient, it means "all-knowing". The one who takes an omniscient point of view- can see and report everything.

Limited Omniscient: In limited omniscient, the narrator whos knowledge is limited to one character, either major or minor.
VOCABULARY
Appropriation
Something set apart for a special use, typically money
Infatuated
Foolishly in love
Proverbial
Generally believed to be true
Shanties
Small flimsy, and often temporary houses
A large appropriation for aid to the libraries was provided.
For example:
For example:
I was infatuated with him - I had posters of him all over my wall, his face on my phone, I dreamed of him, and I even planned our wedding!
For example:
Finding my long lost sister was like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack
For example:
The small wooden Shanties are used each winter for ice fishing
Symbolism:
This story is about the circularity of evil, that "what goes around, comes around". What mistake does the protagonist make? Why does she get a nasty letter herself at the end? How will her life and standing likely change in the community?
In the “Possibility of Evil”, Miss Strangeworth considers herself as a guardian deity of her town, watching over and extinguishing evil, even though she is creating it herself with her letters. Her biggest mistake in the story is mailing out her letters and not making sure they had been safely put into the post box. Leaving a letter behind on the ground to come back and bite her. When Dave Harris picks it up, he sees that it is addressed to Mr. Don Crane. He delivers the letter to him, telling him that Miss Strangeworth was mailing it out to him. When Mr. Crane receives the letter, he comes back and writes her a letter back anonymously. "LOOK OUT AT WHAT USED TO BE YOUR ROSES". All of her roses destroyed, symbolizing that her reputation was ruined in the town. Everyone now knew she was the culprit of the poison pen letters. “Our deeds determine us as much as we determine our deeds.” - George Eliot
What is the purpose of the setting and atmosphere at the beginning of the story? How does the mood change at the end of the story?
The purpose of the setting and atmosphere at the beginning of the story is so that it starts off as a sweet story. Thinking that what you’re going to read is going to be about a sweet elderly lady in a town that her grandfather had built. Talking about her roses that she has carried on for generations. It helps to set you in a cheery mood but then dropping you into a shocking state. Little did you know that in the end the mood changes drastically into a chilling and eerie mood.
In a paragraph explain the symbolism of the roses and the character's names in the story.
What is Miss Strangeworth's motivation in sending her poison pen letters. What is she trying to accomplish?
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Miss Strangeworth’s motivation in sending her poison pen letters is that she wants to
make the town a better place. She feels as if she is to watch over the town since her grandfather had started it. As if, she should keep up the good reputation of the town. She notices the strange behaviour from everyone and tries to help them see their obliviousness.
The roses signify Miss Strangeworth herself. Just like a rose’s pretty petals, Miss Strangeworth appears to be a friendly elderly woman. Like a rose, they secretly have sharp thorns. It shows that Miss Strangeworth has had her sharp side as well. The roses disclose Miss Strangeworth in the end. Those being destroyed just like her reputation in the town is.

The name “Strangeworth” is a symbol that points out to the reader that she is different from everyone else in the story, in other words she is unordinary.
QUIZ ANSWERS
VOCABULARY:
TRUE OR FALSE
1. TRUE
2. FALSE
3. FALSE: The messages in Miss Strangeworth's letters are intended to CAUSE SUSPICION
MULTIPLE
CHOICE
1. B
2. A
3. C
4. D
5. C
6. D
1. PROVERBIAL
2. INFATUATED
3. APPROPRIATION
4. SHANTIES
Using 2-3 sentences, describe the theme of “The Possibility of Evil”.
What was the climax and resolution to the story? Explain.
Name either one verbal, dramatic, OR situational irony in the story.
SHORT ANSWERS
Related themes:

Consequence
Upheaval
Good vs Evil
Deceit
Karma
Deception
Guile
Slander
Scandal etc.
Deceiving
You cannot stop fire with fire. Why did Shirley Jackson title her story, "The Possibility of Evil"? What the townspeople did was no better than what Strangeworth did. We all have the possibility of evil inside of us, if anybody thought that she deserved her roses cut then they have evil in them too. Everybody does.
FORMALISTIC APPROACH
PLOT:
EXPOSITION
The narrator introduces the protagonist, Ms. Strangeworh and her roses
Ms. Strangeworth starts off by entering a grocery store where she then interacts with her fellow townspeople
INCITING FORCE
Ms. Strangeworth starts to write her letters directed individually towards specific people in the town
RISING ACTION
Ms. Strangeworth makes her way to the post office to dispose and send her letters out
CLIMAX
As Miss Strangeworth mails a few of her letters, one falls outside the post office mail box, and is picked up by Dave Harris, who, decided to personally deliver it to Don Crane, instead of mailing it.
FALLING ACTION
Linda and Harris found the letter Ms. Strangeworth had dropped adressed to Don Crane and thought it was in their best interest to deliver it to Don Crane himself
CRISIS
Ms. Strangeworth decides to write and mail letters to the townspeople for her own benifit in order to cleanse the town from evil
Miss Strangeworth finds herself, the next day, a recipient of an anonymous letter, suggesting that she “Look out at what used to be [her] roses”, into which she has invested a great deal of time and energy.
CONFLICT
Man vs. Man – Miss Adela Strangeworth vs. the townspeople. She thinks it is her duty to keep people aware of the possibility of evil that is among them when in fact the evil among them is really her all along.
When Mrs. Strangeworth tries to help the town by writing letters to the towns people anonymously, the letters cause more stress, and lots of problems
VERBAL:
Ms. Strangeworth gives Helen Crane advice on her baby, but in reality she doesn't care and she's only mocking her
She has never had self-consciousness towards children- yet a child finds, and delivers her letter resulting in her downfall
the contrast between how she talked to people in person and what she said in her letters " I suppose you've got young Don all upset about the fact that his daughter is already six months old and hasn't yet begun to learn to dance?"
SITUATIONAL
Don Crane sent Ms. Strangeworth a letter in return after the one he recieved, he ruins her roses which shocks readers because of how respected Ms. Strangeworth herself as well as her roses are in the town
DRAMATIC
Ms. Strangeworth writing the letters
When Ms. Strangeworth wakes up all joyful the next morning after delivering her letters
Ms. Strangeworth has a conversation with Mr. Lewis at the store and notices he's upset but does not say anything
Reader knows about all the gossip within the town
Ms. Strangeworth appears to be wanting to cleanse the town, but in reality she creates more evil
The happy colours of the paper she writes the notes on are ironic because she uses them to spread evil
ENDING
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