person's head surrounded by envelopes connected by a rose vine that spirals into the person's brain and at the other end blooms into a rose surrounded by lost petals

The Possibility of Evil

by Shirley Jackson
Start Free Trial

Who is Adela Strangeworth?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Adela Strangeworth is the main character in "The Possibility of Evil." She is a 71-year-old lady who has lived in the town all of her life. Her grandfather built the house that she lives in and she is proud of the fact that it was the first house to be built on that street. She is also proud of her grandmother who planted the roses which surround her house. Her mother tended these roses and they are now her prized responsibility.

On the surface, Miss Strangeworth appears like any other elderly lady. She is well-known and well-liked by other residents of the town, as shown by their positive reactions when she walks down Main Street. What they do not realise, however, is that Miss Strangeworth is the author of the poisoned pen letters which have blighted the lives of many residents. Ironically, Miss Strangeworth believes that these letters are protecting the town from evil when, in fact, they represent the source of all the town's evil. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team