Adela Strangeworth Character Analysis

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Of Roses and Thorns A rose may look harmless from far away, but no one seems to remember that it has harmful thorns. In Shirley Jackson’s The Possibility of Evil, Adela Strangeworth appears like a normal old lady at first; however, under all her kind words are malevolence. She anonymously writes ghastly letters to the people in her neighborhood, and watches them suffer as entertainment. Furthermore, she believes that she is getting rid of the evil in her neighborhood; yet in reality, she is the one causing it. Undoubtedly, Adela Strangeworth is a vicious, arrogant and manipulative individual who is able to deceive her entire community, so that she can change it into her perfect world. Viciousness is a trait that most villains possess, and…show more content…
Strangeworth’s manipulative ability allows her to deceive others into thinking that she has the most innocent and caring intentions, which allows her to get away with all her foul letter writing. Manipulation is the ability to change the thinking of others. For example, Miss. Strangeworth always “[stops] every minute or so to say good morning to someone or to ask after someone’s health” [Jackson, 161]. She appears like a wonderful lady who cares about everyone’s well being. In reality, it is just a disguise. Indeed, she manipulates people through pretending to care about them, so she can control their thinking to satisfy her idea of a perfect town. Another example of Miss. Strangeworth’s manipulation is when she reassures Helen Crane that her infant daughter is perfectly normal: “Nonsense… All babies are different. Some of them develop much more quickly than others” [Jackson, 163]. Miss. Strangeworth manipulates Helen Crane into believing that she thinks there is nothing wrong with her baby, but Miss. Strangeworth actually thinks Helen’s baby is “AN IDIOT CHILD” [Jackson, 165]. By manipulating her community, Miss. Strangeworth is able to befriend the people as she slowly changes them to fit her standards of
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