|Literary essay: Characterization, Charles
Author: Elia L Dodd PM
.Rated: Fiction K - English - Words: 448 - Published: 01-15-13 - Status: Complete - id: 3092372
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Literary essay: Characterization
The main character of Shirley Jackson's short story, Charles, is a rude, self-absorbed and mischievous young boy and although he just started kindergarten he seems bent on leaving it soon. Most children Laurie's age believe the world revolves around them. Laurie is no different and like some young children he likes to talk about himself. He just has a sneaky way of going about it.
Every day when Laurie gets home from school he chatters on about a very naughty kid at his kindergarten called Charles. The first time his parents got to hear about Charles it was to first day of school "'The teacher spanked a boy, though,' Laurie said, addressing his bread and butter. 'For being fresh,' he added, with his mouth full. 'What did he do?' I asked. 'Who was it?' Laurie thought. 'It was Charles,' he said. 'He was fresh. The teacher spanked him and made him stand in a corner. He was awfully fresh.'" Then one time returning late from school "'You know what Charles did?' he demanded, following me through the door. 'Charles yelled so in school they sent a boy in from first grade to tell the teacher she had to make Charles keep quiet, and so Charles had to stay after school. And so all the children stayed to watch him.' " (130) As it turns out "Charles" is the name Laurie made for himself when he was talking to his parents about what he had done in school.
Laurie has no respect for his parents. After his first day of school "'Did you learn anything?' his father asked. Laurie regarded his father coldly. 'I didn't learn nothing,' Laurie said. 'Anything,' I said. 'Didn't learn anything.'" (128). Though Laurie's mother tried to smooth things out; Laurie seems to have it out for his father. Once in greeting Laurie said "Hi, Pop, y'old dust mop."(130) His parents however did not discourage this behavior and in doing so did not encourage respect.
At one point it seems he infers he wishes to be thrown out of school. One time after a particularly awful account of Charles' doings: "'What are they going to do about Charles, do you suppose?' Laurie's father asked him. Laurie shrugged elaborately. "Throw him out of school, I guess,' he said."(132) Knowing that Charles is Laurie makes me wonder if he hopes this all will get him out of school.
I find Laurie is mischievous because he devised this way of yacking about himself without getting in big trouble. Laurie, like the rest of us finds it much easier to blame things on some one else.