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Moaaz Zafar

on 20 February 2013

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Prezi By: Moaaz, Shampath , Andy & Sonia THE POSSIBILITY OF EVIL THESIS STATEMENT CHARACTER ANALYSIS SOME PPACTS LITERARY DEVICES Every person on Earth has within them the possibility to be good or evil. These ideas are defined only by an individual’s choice in perspective. In the short story, The Possibility of Evil, Shirley Jackson expresses that beneath one's gentle exterior, there may be an existence of evil within. When that individual harms another, the evil is passed, spread and can perhaps form into a cycle. This theme is illustrated through the design elements of character Miss Strangeworth and the usage of irony. An immoral act can be found anywhere, even the most unlikely places and when the evil is released, it can provoke others to follow suit. Point: In person, Miss Strangeworth seems nice to talk to; however, at home she writes letters expressing her true opinion about the lives of the townspeople.

Proof: “People everywhere were lustful and evil and degraded, and needed to be watched; the world was so large, and there was only one Strangeworth left in it” (Jackson 6).

Analysis: Miss Strangeworth believes there is no hope for humanity or the society she lives in and she will never be able to get rid of the evil inside of people.

Point: Her thoughts and opinions are not based on facts

Proof: “Miss Strangeworth never concerned herself with facts; her letters all dealt with the more negotiable stuff of suspicion” (Jackson 5).

Analysis: She takes the negative aspects of humanity and uses them to come up with her own conclusions about others. Similes

"Old Lady Stangeworth's getting deaf, like a falling leaf."
"Miss Strangeworth took deep breaths and thought that there was nothing in the world like a fragrant summer day."


"How old is Her Highness now?" - Miss Strangeworth is comparing the Crane's baby to a princess
"She drew the shades, took the rose satin spread from the bed..." - Ms. Strangeworth is comparing the color of the bedspread to the color of a rose. IRONY ANALYSIS POINT- Miss Strangeworth is actually the person who is writing all the disrespectful anonymous letters. Though throughout the story, no one, except the reader, knows who is writing these letters. When Miss Strangeworth was buying her box of strawberries, Lewis looked worried.

PROOF- This is illustrated when the narrator says, “Mr. Lewis looked worried, she thought, and for a minute she hesitated,” (Jackson 2).

ANALYSIS- Miss Strangeworth knew that Mr. Lewis was anxious, but, she decided not to ask him. Therefore, it becomes dramatic irony where the reader knows something that the other character, Mr. Lewis does not.

POINT- Also, when Miss Strangeworth was writing the letters, she expressed her own personal opinion about the other townspeople’s lives.

PROOF- This is shown when she writes, “Didn't you ever see an idiot child before? Some people just shouldn’t have children should they?” (Jackson 4)

ANALYSIS- In this statement, Miss Strangeworth believes that the Crane baby is slow and has poor intelligence. However, before she was writing this letter, she politely replied to Helen Crane, “Nonsense. All babies are different. Some of them develop much more quickly than others” (Jackson 3). She was being good and courteous. As a result, this is also dramatic irony because the reader knows that Miss Strangeworth has contradicted her own statement and her true feelings are the opposite of what she said. Point of View:

3rd person limited - the narrator is introducing and observing the protagonist, Miss Strangeworth in the first half of the story.

3rd person omniscient - is revealed when the narrator alters his focus from Miss Strangeworth to Harris. This is shown when the narrator reads Harris’ thought, “Old lady Strangeworth’s getting deaf” (Jackson 7). THEME

Beneath one's gentle exterior, there may be existence of evil within, and when that person harms another the evil is passed, spread and can perhaps form into a cycle. Conflicts

Self vs. Society
One of the conflicts in the story is self versus society because Miss Strangeworth believes the society she lives in is full of evil and she thinks it is her job to warn people of evil nearby and help them by sending anonymous letters. “Three people would open her letters. Harsh, perhaps, at first, but wickedness was never easily banished, and a clean heart was a scoured heart.” (Jackson 9) She believes that by sending the townspeople these letters she is acting like the ‘hero’ and fighting away evil.

Self vs. Self
A conflict of self versus self is also present in the story because Miss Strangeworth is in a sense, causing her own self destruction since she is risking her reputation by sending the hateful letters. If anyone was to find out that she was the person who was writing the letters then they would want their revenge which is exactly what happened at the end of the story Situational/Dramatic Irony

An event that happened is different from what the person expected. The first half of the story, the reader would think that Miss Strangeworth is a delightful and caring character. However, when she starts writing the hateful letters to other people, it reveals and demonstrates that she is being imperious and doing something that is morally wrong. Symbolism

Rosebush – Universally the rose is known for being a symbol of love and romance but it despite this the rose still has thorns. Like the rose Miss Strangeworth appears to be innocent and sweet old lady but she is hiding her thorns. Throughout the story Miss Strangeworth is displayed as a respected individual in her town but it is revealed that she has been the one causing despair. THE END Exposition Climax Rising Action Falling Action Resolution/
Denouement Inciting Incident Story By: Shirley Jackson
Miss Strangeworth went to Mr. Lewis’ grocery, introduced, and talked to the other characters, Tommy Lewis, Mrs. Harper, Don Crane, Helen Crane, Linda Stewart, and Harris, around the town. In addition, the narrator briefly introduced Miss Strangeworth’s family history and her garden of roses. After she finished speaking to others, she went home. Afterward she started writing anonymous letters to Don Crane, Mrs. Harper, and Mrs. Foster. Miss Strangeworth carefully wrote the letters, went to the town’s post office, and sent those letters. On the way there, she was eavesdropping on Harris and Linda’s conversation. Unfortunately, she got distracted and accidentally dropped one of her letters. Harris and Linda found the letter and decided to help Miss Strangeworth out by delivering it to Don Crane. The next morning, Miss Strangeworth received an anonymous letter and the story ended off with her crying silently as she read the words explaining that her roses had been destroyed. THE END SUMMARY/PLOT
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