Why does Laurie lie to his mother in "Charles?"

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Laurie lies to his mother because he feels guilt about his actions and wants to talk about them, but does not want to take the consequences for them so he makes up a story about an imaginary boy named “Charles” and describes all the bad things Charles does—when it’s really Laurie.

Laurie’s parents are in complete denial, although there are signs that he is not an angel.

“The teacher spanked a boy, though,” Laurie said, addressing his bread and butter.

“For being fresh,” he added, with his mouth full. (p. 1)

The fact that he talks with his mouth full and is the center of attention, and no one corrects him, foreshadows the fact that he is actually the trouble maker.

Laurie seems aware of his actions.  He describes the way he acted as “awfully fresh” in this instance, and seems to realize that he was bad.  Yet he deflects blame from himself by making up an ordinary boy.

Until the PTA meeting, Laurie’s mother never tries to talk to his teacher about Charles, and the teacher never tells Laurie’s mother what a problem her son is.  This way, Laurie gets away with the charade.

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