The Happiest Days of Your Life
Normally you would think, that parents would have the best interest and intensions for their children. And parents, who are very ambitious on behalf of their children, are often a good prerequisite for the kids to get really far in a prestigious world. But at the same time any parent must also be careful, that the excessive pressure of expectations and so early defined objectives do not take away the play of childhood and at a later stage the child’s wish to formulate own goals of life. If your parent’s devote to invest themselves, their time and savings to pursue the ambition they carry on behalf of their child – which more often than not are projections of own lost ambitions – it is a very big burden for any child to carry.
A 3rd person limited omniscient narrator tells Penelope Lively’s short story, from Charles' point of view. But the narrator is partly an omniscient narrator, because we are very familiar with Charles emotions. Normally would a non-omniscient objective 3rd person narrator never know that Charles feels like the floor under him is shaking and the walls beside him is moving (p. 65 l. 7-9).
Most of the story takes place on Preparatory School St. Edward's, and of course back and forth in the car. We are not told, when the story exactly is taking place. So it could have happened yesterday or many years ago. The environment in the story seems to be the upper class of society, which is clearly seen in this quote from the text; “She worked over the headmaster’s wife from shoes to hairstyle, pricing and assessing. Shoes old but expensive - Russel and Bromley.Good skirt. Blouse could be Marks and Sparks - not sure. Real pearls. Super Victorian ring.” (p. 63 l. 9-13).
A normal middle-class woman could not name a price and a brand on what a random woman is wearing from head to toe. It shows us, that she properly belongs to the upper class herself.
The lack of communication between Charles and his parents...
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