Sorry, Wrong Number

by Lucille Fletcher

Start Free Trial

What is your opinion of Mrs. Stevenson in "Sorry, Wrong Number" by Lucille Fletcher?

Expert Answers

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

Mrs. Stevenson is a character who eventually evokes quite a bit of pity from the audience.  At first she seems to be a wealthy, perhaps spoiled, lady who lays around and gossips on the telephone.  Later, we learn that she is really a lonely, bedridden shut-in whose husband is planning her murder.

This murder plot is revealed when Mrs. Stevenson attempts to use the telephone, and the wires somehow get crossed.  She, along with the audience, is slowly pulled into the plot, slowly understanding that the mastermind is her husband, and slowly realizing that she is the intended victim.

Most people can empathize with a feeling of helplessness and vulnerability, and most people are afraid of being alone at night and suddenly finding that somebody else is there!  As a result, the audience identifies with Mrs. Stevenson and feels both pity and fear for her. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What kind of person is Mrs.Stevenson in the drama "Sorry, Wrong Number" by Lucille Fletcher?

Mrs. Stevenson is an "invalid" who is bed-ridden due to an unspecified illness or condition.  For the duration of the radio play, Mrs. Stevenson repeatedly (and unsuccessfully) tries to reach her husband on the phone because she is worried about her safety.  Mrs. Stevenson is typically attended by a nurse, but we learn, through the protagonist's conversations with the telephone operator, that she has given her nurse the night off.

Throughout the course of the radio play, Mrs. Stevenson grows more and more agitated, demanding, and panicked. She is afraid to be home alone, since the patrol officer on her block has left, and her calls to the police (they don't seem to be worried for her safety) and then to a hospital (she wants to hire a nurse for the night) are unsuccessful.

We learn, at the end of the play, that Mrs. Stevenson's fears were justified.  However, many audiences don't feel much sympathy for her because of her behavior.  (Many readers/audiences describe her as rude and/or annoying.) Ultimately, much of the way audiences feel about Mrs. Stevenson depends on the actress who plays her.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Posted on