These humorous stories demonstrates how even individuals living under the same roof may not fully realize the extent of each other’s true behaviors or the nature of each other’s true identities. In the short stories “Charles” and” The Open Window” the characters Vera and Laurie both tell a lie to an adult. These two stories demonstrate how unaware people may be of each other’s inner motivations and desires.
Laurie’s mother is unaware of her own son’s bad behavior in school and is willing to believe his descriptions of some other misbehaving child. “I watched him go off he first morning with the older girl, next door seeing clearly that an era of my life was ended, my sweet voiced nusery school tot replaced by a long trouser character who forgot to stop ant the corner and wave good bye to me.” Even though her own son’s behavior changes when he enters kindergarten, she chalks this up to Charles’s influence.
During his first month of kindergarten Laurie transforms from a nursery school tot to “Charles”. This shows how Laurie is beginning the discovery of his identity. During first two weeks of school Laurie talks about all of the bad things that he was doing in class, when his mother asked who it was Laurie paused for a moment and then said Charles. Ironically the name Charles was originally used to indicate a free man. Although his stories about Charles protect him from parental wrath they also real the he naturally conceives of his self as a fictional construct over which he has considerable power. The Charles he creates is also a person who can create himself. He can be extremely bad one day and extremely good the next day.
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Topic: Charles and the Open Window
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