What changes does Laurie’s mother observe in her son the day he starts kindergarten?

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Laurie's mother notices that her son becomes bolder. Laurie is no longer the timid "sweet-voiced nursery-school tot" of a year ago. In his place is a loud and often brash character whom Laurie's mother does not recognize.

At the end of the first day of kindergarten, Laurie slams the front...

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Laurie's mother notices that her son becomes bolder. Laurie is no longer the timid "sweet-voiced nursery-school tot" of a year ago. In his place is a loud and often brash character whom Laurie's mother does not recognize.

At the end of the first day of kindergarten, Laurie slams the front door after entering the house. Then, he loudly asks whether anyone is home. At lunch, Laurie speaks rudely to his father and spills his baby sister's milk. In short, Laurie seems to have morphed overnight into a loud, sarcastic character who delights in shocking his parents.

Laurie's mother notices that her son particularly likes talking about Charles, a seemingly recalcitrant classmate. During their conversations, Laurie blames Charles for every disruption endured by his kindergarten class. To Laurie, Charles is a larger-than-life character. He never needs to wear a jacket, and he even has the temerity to kick the teacher's friend.

It is only when Laurie's mother attends the P.T.A. meeting that she makes an important discovery: there is no Charles in Laurie's classroom. This means that Charles is Laurie's alter ego; he is a character crafted to help him navigate the strange new world of kindergarten.

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On the day that Laurie starts kindergarten, his mother notices a lot of big changes in her son. First of all, Laurie exhibits physical changes; this is shown by the way he dresses. He is no longer interested in wearing "corduroy overalls," for example, and instead chooses jeans and a belt.

In addition, his demeanor changes. Laurie's mother describes him as "swaggering," for instance, a word which suggests confidence and maturity.

We can also see changes in Laurie's relationship with his mother. Instead of being accompanied by her, Laurie goes to kindergarten in the company of an older child. He also forgets to say goodbye to his mother.

On Laurie's first day, then, he experiences a number of changes which suggest that he is quickly maturing from a dependent infant to a very confident child.

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In "Charles" by Shirley Jackson, the narrator, Laurie's mother, notices some changes in her son on the first day of school. He seems much more grown up than the little boy he was just the day before. No longer does he wear his "little boy clothes," but he's dressed, ready to go to school like all of the other children.

"He started wearing blue jeans with a belt. I watched him go off that first morning with the older girl next door. He looked as though he were going off to a fight." (Jackson 1)

Maybe that last thought should have been a clue to Laurie's mom that school was going to be a challenge for her little boy. Day after day, Laurie came home with stories about a mischievous boy named Charles, who was always getting into some kind of trouble. Of course, we eventually find out that Laurie IS Charles, and that when he left that first day for kindergarten, he really was "going off to a fight"!

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