Literary Essay – ‘The Happiest Days of Your Life’ by Penelope Lively

Indledning
The story “The Happiest Days of Your Life” is a short story written by Penelope Lively.

The story is about a family with a lot of money, and they visit the boarding school St. Edward’s Preparatory school, which is a popular school in England. They must decide if they want their son Charles to study at the school.

Charles' parents are impressed with the school and they seem to like it a lot, and they are excited to send their son to the school. But Charles is very quiet and doubtful about their choice of him to start at the school, and after his first short unpleasant experience with the other students does he not feel welcome.

Indholdsfortegnelse
Analysis
The setting
Charles
Charles’ relationship with his parents
Conclusion

Uddrag
Charles and his parents do not have a very good relationship together. His mother tends not to wait for Charles to answer her questions, so instead she talks, and there is an example at (page 56 line 30) ”All right, Charles? You didn’t get sick in the car, did you?” This is just one of the many examples of their not good relationship.

The problem about it is that they never talk or communicate about relevant problems and it is almost like that the mother just wants everything to be so flawless and good.

The parents have no focus on Charles’ feelings because they only concentrate on themselves and what they want.

This is shown in the story when his mother is comparing Charles to the upper-class students at the school at (page 57 line 26-27) “For a moment the three adults centered on the child, looking, judging.

The mother said: ‘He looks so hideously pale, compared to those boys we saw outside. It is clearly noted that the parents want Charles to be perfect and fit in the upper-class school and somehow live up to the standards, they think are right for him.

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