Appearance vs Reality in the Possibility of Evil

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Appearance vs. Reality in “The Possibility of Evil” Have you ever met someone who appears different from who they really are? In the short story, “The Possibility of Evil” by Shirley Jackson, we follow Adela Strangeworth, the protagonist/antagonist, around “her” town on her daily routine. Miss Strangeworth believes it’s her duty to keep the town free from evil, so everyday she sends anonymous letters alerting people about this “evil”. Towards the ending the town finds out about her malicious side and destroys her roses, her number one prized possession, for revenge. The larger idea portrayed in the short story is how the way we see things are different from how things really are, in reality. In the story, Miss Strangeworth appears to be a polite and caring person. As the story progresses, it is revealed that in reality, Miss Strangeworth is an evil old lady who bullies her town and spreads rumors with anonymous letters. Appearance is the way something or someone is shown. In the story “The Possibility of Evil”, the main character, Miss Strangeworth, is described as a polite, sweet and caring person. For example, “Walking down Main Street on a summer morning, Miss Strangeworth had to stop every minute or so to say good morning to someone or to ask after someone’s health.” This showing how Miss Strangeworth is displayed as a polite person who cares about everyone in her town. Another example in the story is, “She was seventy-one, Miss Strangeworth told the tourists, with a pretty little dimple showing by her lip, and she sometimes found herself thinking that the town belonged to her.” In this example, the author tells us that Miss Strangeworth is an old lady. Elders are usually seen as tender and loving, so this blindsides readers because no one would expect an elder to be evil. Miss Strangeworth is shown as a polite, caring, and sweet person. Readers are deceived

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