In our culture, we already assume that the story is related to childhood. Adults tend to think that The Happiest Days of Your Life is going to be related to some kind of childhood event. However, after reading the story, the story changes the title into irony.
Charles Mander who is the main character in the text is not having the best day of his life, quite the opposite. Parents tend to assume that children are all about fun and games, but the text shows us that Charles has some inner struggle.
The chance of a new school where he is likely to be bullied makes him distressed and scared.
Happiest Days of Your Life is a short story written by Penelope Lively in 1978. The story takes place in southern England. The text is about a boy named Charles Mander and his two parents.
They are going to visit St Edwards Preparatory School, where they are thinking on apply for memberships for Charles because the school was recommended to them by the Wilcox family.
Mrs and Mr Manders are secondary characters that are not very described in the story, which helps us to suggest that they are stereotypical middle-class parents. Their inner characterization is created by their action and appearance.
They tend to compare Charles with the other boys his age. The story also leads us to think that the parents admire the Wilcox family. Many of the conversations include them and their opinion. “Wilcox says quite few City people send their boys here.
One or two of the merchant bankers, those kind of people. It’s the sort of contact that would do no harm at all” (P.56 ll.25-28) This point out the fact that the parents care a lot about status and the school is some sort of good investment.