Why do you think Laurie's parents took so long to discover the truth about Charles in Shirley Jackson's short story "Charles"?

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kathik | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

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In Shirley Jackson's short story, "Charles," Laurie goes off to kindergarten and every day comes home with a new story about a boy named Charles. The reader finds out at the end of the book that Laurie is actually telling stories about himself. So, why does it take his parents so long to realize Laurie IS Charles? One thing for sure is that Laurie is either very smart or very devious (or perhaps both)! He has figured out that by immediately telling his parents tales about a "bad" boy named Charles, the focus would come off Laurie. Laurie tells his Charles' stories so well, his parents forget to ask him about what HE did at school. All of their conversations center on Charles, and Laurie is very believable. How many parents would automatically assume their child was the "bad boy" in class, especially when their child is such a great storyteller?

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