Possibility of Evil

Possibility of Evil Response Small towns are very susceptible to questionably informed gossip because everyone knows each other and “everybody’s business” (Sulzberger). In the article In smalltown Us, gossip moves to the web, and turn vicious a social media Web called Topix starts a “cesspool of character assassination” (Sulzberger). Outings, such as grocery shopping, brought people to glance at each other in disproval.

Similarly in The Posibility of Evil by Shirley Jackson, going to the grocery store is a way for Miss Strangeworth to see what is going on in the town and who will be the next victim of her merciless letters. Both stories express the theme of spreading negativity and crossing lines in terms of gossip. People base their rumors or stories on assumptions. “Miss Stangeworth never concerned herself with facts, her letter all dealt with the more negotiable stuff of suspicion” (Jackson).We can also see that in both stories the people who judged others where anonymous; Miss Strangeworth by her letters and the town of Mountain Grove by social media. It is easier to say insults when you aren’t speaking directly to a person. While Miss Strangeworth’s motivation to writing letters is her want of a perfect town, the motivation of Topix is the money it brings to the company.

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Another difference between the two stories is how people reacted to these outbursts.In Possibility of Evil, Don Crane reacts to his letter and takes revenge by cutting Miss Strangeworth’s beautiful roses; her symbol of perfection and pride. In the article by Sulzberger, people – or the company, tried to remove all negative posts but doing so, they lost visitors. The insults were so strong on Topix that if the comments weren’t anonymous, “there would have been one killing after another” (Sulzberger). One woman even committed suicide and killed her own children to “take the pain away” (Sulzberger).

Which brings us to “the wickedness of the world…” (Jackson).It is very improbable that we will ever eliminate evil because people have different views, opinions and perspectives. The world will never get rid of arguments because that is what makes us advance and progress as a society.

Throughout both stories, we can see the reoccurring, theme of negativity. You will never be satisfied if you only see the bad side of things. Adela’s perfect town would never be perfect until she saw the good things in it and lastly, Topix would never diffuse the sense of enjoyable and constructive comments until people started to see good aspects in towns and communities.

Author: Leticia Woods


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