The 5 Facts of Fiction
Fiction is all about the character:
In this story, ‘Charles’, the main character is Laurie. However, the story is narrated by his mother. Laurie is a young boy who is just starting school. I think that he is cheeky and smart because he is able to convince his parents that there is a boy in his class called Charles. I think that the author made Laurie seem like a very innocent boy because that makes it a more interesting plot twist when the mother finds out that her son has been displaying bad behavior.
‘“We don’t have any Charles in the class.”’
I think that Laurie started being naughty because he was confronted with a new situation like school, and he wanted to be cool and make friends. He is young, and I think he doesn’t know any way to make friends other than rebel against authority.
‘“Today Charles hit the teacher.”’
Fiction is all about what your character wants:
Laurie wants to fit in. He wants to be cool, and he wants his parents to be proud of him. He wants them to think that he is totally capable of going to school and that he is not having any problems. He wants them to think this so they have the impression that he is all grown up.
‘“Charles wanted to color with green crayons so he hit the teacher and she spanked him and said nobody play with Charles… but everybody did.”’
This plot is interesting because Laurie goes to great lengths to lie to his parents, rather than confront them about the issues he has been having at school. Laurie’s parents fall into their child’s trap, and are under the impression that their son is very capable and a well behaved child.
‘My sweet-voiced nursery-school tot replaced by a long-trousered, swaggering character who forgot to stop at the corner and wave good-bye to me.’
I think that if the story were to continue without Laurie’s parent finding out that their son was Charles, Laurie would be even more desperate to make his parents proud. As the story progressed and Laurie saw how happy his parents were with how he was coping, it would be even harder to confront them about his problems. He sort of made the problem harder by lying to his parents.
Fiction is all about how the character gets/doesn’t get what he/she wants:
For a while, Laurie gets exactly what he wants. His parents are very proud of him for not being influenced by Charles’ actions, and he gets away with being a really naughty kid. Because of the way that the author ended this story, we don’t actually know how the mother reacts to finding out that Laurie and Charles are the same person. I can infer that she would be mad at Laurie for showing bad behavior, but would also want to help him have a better experience at school.
“Charles?” she said. “We don’t have any Charles in the class.”
I think that if this story was set from Laurie’s point of view, the story would be very different. You would know from the very start that Laurie was the same person as Charles, and you would know exactly why he was acting that way. However, the plot twist at the end of the story wouldn’t have been very effective. If Laurie’s mother had gone to the school earlier to talk about Charles’ impact on the other children, the story would have ended sooner and in a different way. So, Laurie did get what he wanted for a little bit, but in the end he made his problem worse.
Fiction is all about how the character changes:
At the start of the story, Laurie’s mother talks about how her son is growing up and going to school, and from her pint of view, that is how he is changing.
‘The day my son Laurie started school he abandoned corduroy overalls with bibs and began wearing blue jeans with a belt; I watched him go off the first morning with the older girl next door, seeing clearly that an era of my life was ended.’
As the story progresses, you come across other changes in Laurie’s personality. You start to figure out that Laurie, a kid whose mother once saw him to be very innocent and well behaved is actually very naughty. Then you can wonder and infer why he has changed his personality so drastically.
‘“We had a little trouble adjusting, the first week or so,” she said formally, “but now he’s a fine little helper. With occasional lapses, of course.”
“Laurie usually adjusts very quickly,” I said. “I suppose this time it’s Charles’s influence.”’
It is important that the author made Laurie change, because otherwise you would be under the impression that Laurie was Charles throughout the entire story.
Fiction is all about the world that the author creates:
This story is set in a school environment. It is an experience that most kids go through so it is relatable. You can understand why Laurie is acting the way that he is acting, and you can relate to being put under pressure to make friends. In the real world, actions have consequences, and that is what Laurie needs to learn. He needs to know that he doesn’t have to be bad if he wants to make friends, and in a real school environment, it is important to make friends. This is a world that is very much like our lives, and I think the reason that the author decided to set the story in this environment is so people can relate to it and understand how Laurie is feeling and thinking. In this world, the good things are how Laurie’s parents and teachers may be able to understand why he is lying. Some bad things are how there is so much pressure on Laurie to make friends, and how that can influence Laurie negatively.