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What is Miss Strangeworth trying to accomplish by sending out her letters? Does she...

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cheemha | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted September 14, 2010 at 10:48 AM via web

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What is Miss Strangeworth trying to accomplish by sending out her letters? Does she succeed?

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 14, 2010 at 1:30 PM (Answer #1)

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Miss Strangeworth is of the opinion that it is her personal duty as a Strangeworth to watch over her town.  She sees evil where there is none; in her paranoid and misguided state, she imagines the worst in everyone.  By sending the letters, she is hoping to stop trouble before it begins, or combat the evil deeds committed in her town.

Since the only true evil apparent to the reader is her own, no, Miss Strangeworth does not succeed in making her town better.  She makes a lot of people nervous, frightened and sad.

Miss Strangeworth attacks the healthy intelligence of the Crane baby; she causes Linda Stewart's parents to suspect the worst behavior between Linda and Dave, when they have done nothing wrong; and, infers to Mrs. Harper that her husband is being unfaithful.  Other letters have driven wedges between people who genuinely care for each other, but Miss S. sees nothing wrong with what she does.

The book says Miss Strangeworth does not deal in facts, but in the possibility of evil.  The irony, of course, is that the only evil in the town comes from within herself.

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