Foreshadowing is a literary device used by authors to hint at events that will come later in a story. Shirley Jackson uses foreshadowing masterfully in the short story "Charles."
The very first paragraph foreshadows the ending as the narrator describes the change in her son. He used to wear overalls, which are often attributed to young children. Now he is wearing the more grown-up attire of jeans and a belt. The word choice that Jackson uses, "renounced," suggests the plot twist that is to come. He didn't just casually change his mind, he refused to abide by the rules of his mother's choice of clothing any longer.
The day my son Laurie started kindergarten he renounced corduroy overalls with bibs and began wearing blue jeans with a belt; I watched him go off the first morning with the older girl next door, seeing clearly that an era of my life was ended, my sweet-voiced nursery-school tot replaced by a longtrousered, swaggering character who forgot to stop at the corner and wave...
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