Which tenant was chosen by mistake in The Westing Game?What was Sam Westing's mistake?

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sfwriter | College Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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Sydelle Pulaski, the bilingual shorthand-taking secretary, was an heir who should not have been included in the gathering of heirs at Sunset Towers.  Sam Westing (working, doubtless, as Barney Northrup or another of his aliases) was looking for a woman named Sybel Pulaski, who had been a dear friend of his wife in her girlhood, and had lived in the same apartment building.  But there was a confusion about the names, and Sydelle Pulaski, the spinster with an inferiority complex and a penchant for exhibitionism, was chosen instead.

Sydelle adds a great deal to the story, however, and becomes one of the most interesting characters (even if she is a bit annoying along the way.)  Through her friendship with Angela Wexler, Sydelle grows a great deal and manages to overcome many of her own problems during The Westing Game.  She is instrumental in the "solving" of the will (in which no one actually wins, but each comes out $5000 richer anyway) since she is the only one who took a copy of the will while it was read.  She did it in Polish, too, which meant that she would be the only one able to read it among the heirs.  This cleverness kept her at the center of the game for quite a while.

Sydelle's friendship with the much-younger Angela, and her ability to change and grow when faced with her own shortcomings (even at an age when most people's characters are considered set) is one of the most hopeful in the story.  She becomes less concerned about what others think of her, and less desperate to be "noticed".  This leads to a change in her whole attitude toward life, and she eventually becomes much more at ease socially, and ends up marrying her boss.  The Westing Game gave Sydelle Pulaski much more than money ever could.

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