Why was the narrator at the cabin & What surprises the narrator in "A mother in Manville" by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings?

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parkerlee eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The narrator is in the habit of spending her vacations at the cabin because she wanted to spend some time out in the woods by herself.  A young boy shows up, coming around from time to time to render small chores and help her out since she is a woman and alone. She resists a growing maternal instinct towards this lone child, who lives in an orphanage nearby. However, he speaks often of his mother, who lives in Manville and is attentive to keep in contact with him, sending letters and presents at Christmas and for his birthday. The narrator takes comfort in the fact that at least he has someone who loves him and to care for. It goes without saying that she is surprised indeed to learn that the boy has not received a pair of skates for his birthday, has no living parent, and had all the while invented a mother, much as a lonely child would invent an imaginary playmate. The story ends with this revelation, and the narrator's reaction to this news is not told.

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