What are the settings in "Charles" by Shirley Jackson?

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Felicita Burton eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The settings in the story are the home and the school. Laurie is a little boy who lives in a house with his parents. The story takes place during his first year of school. Almost all the action occurs in the home and consists of interactions between the boy, his mother, and his father. At the beginning, through his mother's eyes, the reader sees him walking down the street. Although the school is an important setting, the reader hears about it almost exclusively through Laurie’s tales of what happened there. A possible opportunity to go to school for a PTA meeting and meet another parent—the mother of the problematic Charles—evaporates when Laurie’s parents have to stay home with their other child, who is ill. In the last part, the parents finally go to the school for the next PTA meeting. There, they learn from Laurie’s teacher that Charles does not exist—or rather, as they conclude, he exists only in Laurie’s mind. The reasons for his behavior are not further explored.

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