Word Choice In 'Charles' By Shirley Jackson

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Shirley Jackson’s realistic fiction story, “Charles” takes place during the late 1940’s. It was a time when teachers spank students if they were acting out during class and parents did the same. Laurie, who had begun kindergarten, came back home with a captivating story to tell his parents about a boy named Charles. Although, what he tells is not the truth. Through Laurie’s actions, Shirley Jackson shows the theme of owning up to mistakes being beneficial by using distinct word choice and a precise point-of-view. Owning up to mistakes is difficult to do, especially when there are consequences that follow. Throughout the story, owning up to mistakes being more beneficial was a theme clear which affected all characters. Because Laurie…show more content…
Jackson uses certain word choice to help convey the theme of the story. After Laurie’s first day of kindergarten, he comes back home telling his mother about a boy who got spanked. When his mother asks who it is, Laurie first thinks, then tells that it was Charles who had done it (73). When Jackson writes that Laurie was thinking, he was trying to receive a reaction. Although, when received, it was not positive. Instead of telling the truth, he tries to come up with a lie to tell so he would not get in trouble and they believe it. Because Laurie is not owning up to his mistakes, he is denying the trouble he will be in. Not only does Jackson use word choice as a craft to portray the theme but she also uses the main point-of-view. The point-of-view also helps to convey the theme. While writing, Jackson put in sections where Laurie’s parents reacted to Charles and his actions. The short paragraph, “On Saturday I remarked to my husband, “Do you think kindergarten is too unsettling for Laurie? All this toughness, and bad grammar, and this Charles boy sounds like such a bad influence”, shows how Laurie’s actions are affecting the point-of-view of the story (74). This is because, with Laurie's intentions of not wanting to get in trouble, his mother believes in the untruthful stories about Charles. This leads her to think kindergarten is too troublesome for him with so much poor behavior going on, even though he is the one causing all the trouble. Furthermore, with Jackson's unique sentence structure and point-of-view, she is further able to convey the story's
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