What impresses the narrator the most about Jerry?

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hgarey71 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings short story "A Mother in Mannville," what impresses the narrator the most about Jerry is his integrity. This is stated in the following quote:

"His name was Jerry; he was twelve years old, and he had been at the orphanage since he was four. I could picture him at four, with the same grave gray-blue eyes and the same--independence? No, the word that comes to me is "integrity." The word means something very special to me, and the quality for which I use it is a rare one.  My father had it--there is another of whom I am almost sure--but almost no man of my acquaintance possesses it with the clarity, the purity, the simplicity of a mountain stream. But the boy Jerry had it." 

The narrator notices his work ethic, his honesty when trying to make retribution for the ax handle breaking, and his dependability. Because of these qualities, she trusts him with her dog when she has to leave for a few days. It is ironic, then, when the narrator finds out that he has told a big and rather an elaborate lie in pretending that he had a mother in Mannville. A mother he says visits him every summer and buys him gifts. The story ends with this revelation, so the reader is left to infer what the narrator's reaction might be to her shattered image of Jerry.