In the short story, "Charles" by Shirley Jackson, what are the internal and external conflicts, and how are they resolved?

1 Answer | Add Yours

mizzwillie's profile pic

mizzwillie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

In the short story "Charles" by Shirley Jackson, the conflicts are both external and internal.  Examples of the external conflicts are the constant tug of war with the boy Laurie and his parents.  The parents don't seem able to curb his behavior from taking a cookie he was not allowed to his constant reciting of tales about the naughty boy at kindergarten.  Internal conflict is illustrated by the mother trying  to decide what to do or say at the meeting with the kindergarten teacher about "Charles." This conflict is resolved by the teacher telling the mom that there is no child in the class named Charles, and that Laurie is the one in trouble. The story is indeed ironic when you remember that irony is the opposite of what you expect.  The reader and the mother are quite surprised and are not expecting to find out that the naughty boy is not a boy named Charles, but the mother's own son Laurie.  Neither parent is very effective with Laurie who is constantly in trouble which does not really resolve the conflicts nor bode well for Laurie's future.


We’ve answered 315,815 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question