Charlie Stowe is the main character in the short story “I spy”. He lives in a coastal town (p. 92, l. 8) and he is twelve years old (p. 92, l. 12), which means he is in the middle of a period of transition. He is about to enter a new phase in his life, because he will soon become a teenager, which maybe explains his behavior in the short story, where he alternates between the childish side of him, which makes him insecure and nervous (p.
93, l. 8: “…he did not dare…”) and the adult side of him which tells him that: “if he were caught now there was nothing to be done about it, and he might as well have his smoke. (p. 94, l. 4-5)
At p. 94, l. 4, it also says that he was telling himself these things “in his curiously adult way” and later on, (p. 94, l. 9) “grown-up and childish exhortations oddly mixed”, which I see, substantiated by the fact that he is muttering both taunts and encouragements, as an emblem of above-mentioned: his confusion through his identity crisis.
On the one hand, he hates himself for sneaking out of bed and trying to steal, because he knows it is not right (p. 92, l. 6-17), but on the other hand, he wants to prove something to himself and people around him. Actually, he has been mocked because he has never tried to smoke a cigarette, (p. 92, l. 13-14) which substantiates my theory about Charlie wanting to prove something. He is on a kind of mission that he has to fulfill, partly to be a grown-up (he thinks) and partly to break through his shell and show people how “cool” he is that he dares to smoke a cigarette – and even steal it from his father’s tobacco shop.
The narrator in the text tells us that Charlie does not love his father (p. 92, l. 17-19). As I see it, he hates his father because he cannot lean on him. He seems to be gone most of the time (p. 92, l. 19) Maybe he could be working for “The Huns”. The father: Charlie’s father owns a tobacco shop underneath their house. Even though he does not have much of a relationship with Charlie, we find out that they are still quite similar.
They are both sneaking out at night and in addition to that, the father also mentions: “there’s nothing to be done about it, I might as well have my smokes. ” (p. 95, l. 17-18) These quotes show both the reader and Charlie that they are somehow similar. I think the father is betraying England through World War 1, which explains the unknown men in the shop, but also makes the title significant and shows us more about the similarity between father and son. In some way, they are both criminals.
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