Robert Fulton

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Paper #4 At some point in most children’s lives they create an imaginary friend. This imaginary friend is created so the child feels special attention that they may not get from the people around them. In the stories “Charles” by Shirley Jackson and “Doby’s Gone” by Ann Petry, both Sue and Laurie lack attention from either their parents or peers. Laurie is led to create Charles because of his lack of attention from his parents. By creating Charles, he is indirectly getting attention without getting the blame for his actions. Sue, however, is affected by racism because her peers have problems accepting that she is black. That leads her to create “Doby” who will give her that special attention and accept her for who she is. Both Laurie and Sue create their imaginary friends to help them deal with a difficult circumstance, and their imaginary friend helps them through their trials.

Going to school is often and interesting and new experience for children. In this case, Laurie not only made school interesting for himself and his classmates, he had his parents wondering about a certain troubled child named Charles. Charles was not a real child though, he was only and imaginary friend that Laurie had created to draw attention from his parents. Laurie told his parents all of the bad things “Charles” did in school, but Laurie was actually the one doing the bad things. Charles was just used as the scapegoat so that the blame would be turned away from Laurie and put on somebody else (Jackson219-222).

When Laurie’s parents showed him a lack of attention, he would make comments such as Shirkey 2 “Look down, look at my thumb, gee you’re dumb!” (Jackson 220). His parents would not punish him or reprimand him for making rude comments. Since little comments would not get their attention, he decided to go to more extreme measures, thus “Charles” was created for that purpose. At home, whenever somebody would act in a rude way the comment “Looks like a Charles”



Cited: Jackson, Shirley. “Charles.” Student’s Book of College English. 9th edition. Ed. David Skwire and Harvey S. Wiener. New York: Longman, 2002. 219-222. Petry, Ann. “Doby’s Gone.” Student’s Book of College English. 9th edition. Ed. David Skwire and Harvey S. Wiener. New York: Longman, 2002. 436-440.

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