Summary (Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition)
The first-person narrator of this story, a young boy named Larry, learns an important lesson about growing up, about childhood beliefs, and about family relationships. Young Larry, who is not even ten years old, dislikes his younger, more studious brother, Sonny, because he believes that Sonny is mother’s favorite child. Encouraged by their mother, Sonny concentrates on spelling words correctly, on displaying his learning in other subjects, and on attending school, whereas Larry, much to his mother’s chagrin, dislikes his studies, favors playing with his boyhood “gang,” and prefers skipping school. As the story unfolds, however, Larry discovers why his mother seems to favor Sonny and simultaneously discovers an important lesson about Christmas.
Instead of studying, Larry spends his time playing with the Doherty gang and dreaming of becoming a soldier. He believes that studying is not commendable and, perhaps, is better suited to sissies.
As Christmas approaches, Larry hears, but adamantly refuses to believe, that there is no Santa Claus. The neighborhood Doherty boys, who reveal this information, are a “rough class of children you wouldn’t expect Santa to come to anyway,” Larry observes.
Four days before the holidays, Larry is caught skipping school. Because he has not bothered to learn his required math lessons, he and Peter Doherty have cut classes and have been spending their time in a store on the quay. When his...
(The entire section is 896 words.)
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