In the story "Charles," by Shirley Jackson, what are three character traits that describe Laurie?

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Laurie is violent .  Many of the things he is described as doing seem to be incredibly violent for a kindergartener.  Laurie does not seem to care that he is hurting others, but he seems to want to tell his parents about it.  If they realized what he was doing,...

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Laurie is violent.  Many of the things he is described as doing seem to be incredibly violent for a kindergartener.  Laurie does not seem to care that he is hurting others, but he seems to want to tell his parents about it.  If they realized what he was doing, they would be shocked.

Quote 1

The next day Laurie remarked at lunch, as soon as he sat down, “Well, Charles was bad again today.” He grinned enormously and said, “Today Charles hit the teacher.”

This shows that Laurie is violent because he hit his teacher, and does not seem to care that he got spanked for it.  He says he hit her because “she tried to make him color with red crayons.”

Quote 2

The third day—it was Wednesday of the first week—Charles bounced a see-saw on to the head of a little girl and made her bleed, and the teacher made him stay inside all during recess.

The fact that a little boy would hit a little girl with a see-saw is terrible.  I can’t imagine being Laurie’s teacher!

Laurie is defiant.  A lot of Laurie’s misbehavior is just defiant.  He refuses to do what he has been told do to, and he does things that he knows he should not do.  This is attention-seeking behavior.

Quote 1

“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.”

This quote shows that Laurie is defiant because he yelled and didn’t listen to the teacher.  He also does not seem to care about being held after school.  He probably made up the story of everyone staying to explain why he was late.

Quote 2

Laurie describes his reaction to the teacher’s “friend,” who came to show the class exercises.

“Charles didn’t even do exercises.”

“That’s fine,” I said heartily. “Didn’t Charles want to do exercises?”

“Naaah,” Laurie said. “Charles was so fresh to the teacher’s friend he wasn’t let do exercises.”

This quote demonstrates that Laurie would not even listen to other people who came into class. He was also violent again, kicking the man who tried to make him exercise.

Laurie is inventive.  After all, Charles is not real.  Laurie made him up to cover up his behavior. He wanted to tell his parents that he was getting in trouble at school, but did not want to own up to it.  He invented Charles so he could talk about what happened in a safe way.

Quote 1

Laurie makes up a description of Charles.

“He’s bigger than me,” Laurie said. “And he doesn’t have any rubbers and he doesn’t ever wear a jacket.”

Charles is even defiant in the description!  He doesn’t have rubbers or a jacket, like Laurie probably does.

Quote 2

Laurie’s mother asks the teacher about Charles.

“Yes,” I said, laughing, “you must have your hands full in that kindergarten, with Charles.” “Charles?” she said.

“We don’t have any Charles in the kindergarten.”

This is where we find out, along with Laurie’s mother, that Charles doesn’t exist.  Laurie made him up.  It is obvious from the teacher’s reaction to Laurie’s mother that the behaviors are real, but it was Laurie and not Charles who was doing them.  Laurie's teacher says he had trouble adjusting to kindergarten.

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