What is Miss Strangeworth's reputation in town?
Mrs. Strangeworth definitely has a reputation in town. First, she thinks highly of herself and her place in the town. She talks about how long her family has been there and about the statue of her grandfather that should have been put up in place of Ethan Allen. “There wouldn’t have been a town here at all if it hadn’t been for my grandfather and the lumber mill.” She is also known for growing beautiful roses and keeping them to herself instead of sharing them with visitors or the church. “…when she picked the roses at all, she set them in bowls and vases around the inside of the house her grandfather had built.”
Mrs. Strangeworth is also opinionated and bossy. She is rather rude to the shopkeeper who does not remind her to buy tea. She tells another customer that she is not looking well. When she leaves the shop, she talks to the baby’s mother and dismisses her concerns as nothing. When she walks to the post office to deliver her letters and she drops one, one of the children asked if she could be sending someone a check. The response is, “Catch old Lady Strangeworth sending anybody a check!” Everyone knows Mrs. Strangeworth, but not many people really like her.
In "The Possibility of Evil," Miss Strangeworth has a good reputation and this is as made up of a number of factors:
- She is widely admired for the roses in her garden. Tourists who pass through the town stop and admire her garden, for example, even though she never gives a rose away.
- She is well-liked by the people in her town, as we see when she walks down Main Street. People wave at her, for instance, and stop to say hello. This behaviour is repeated in the grocery store, too.
At the very end of the story, however, Miss Strangeworth's reputation undergoes a significant change when a resident finds out that she is the author of the anonymous letters. The sabotage of her roses shows that her reputation has been permanently damaged and that people no longer believe that she is a sweet and kind old lady.