What story did Jerry make up about his mother, and why did he do so in "A Mother in Mannville" by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While the narrator (presumably Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings herself) vacations in North Carolina, she meets Jerry, who has come to chop wood for her. Jerry lives in the nearby orphanage, and the narrator takes a liking to him. He shocks the narrator when he tells her about his mother and the skates and gloves that she has bought for him. The narrator had just assumed that Jerry was an orphan, so when she leaves, she asks a woman at the orphanage to buy him a nice gift--just as his mother had. The woman then informs the narrator that Jerry has no mother: The stories about the skates and gloves have been a lie.

I think Jerry made up the stories because he did not want to arouse the sympathy of the narrator. Jerry prided himself on the amount of wood he could chop--much more than other boys his size--and he did not want the writer feeling sorry for him. Perhaps it was also a dream or fantasy that his mother would one day return to buy him the presents he so wanted.

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