Charles' parents

Table of contents

Mrs Manders

Mrs Manders is Charles’ mother in “The Happiest Days of Your Life” by Penelope Lively. We do not know details about her outer characterisation besides the fact that she wears a skirt . The lack of specific details about her appearance help to suggest that she is a stereotypical middle-class woman.

Mrs Manders’ inner characterisation is created through her actions, thoughts, and feelings. From the beginning of the story, we see Mrs Manders display her practical side by discussing the school fees, as well as the headmaster’s education, with her husband . They are never shown arguing and there seems to be no tension in their relationship, but we also do not witness any sign of affection between them. Overall, Mrs Manders and her husband seem to have the same practical outlook on life. 

Before entering the school, Mrs Manders looks in the mirror and combs her hair, suggesting her concern with her physical appearance and, implicitly, with making a good impression with the headmaster: “She clicked open her handbag and the sun caught her mirror and flashed in the child’s eyes; the comb went through her hair…” . Mrs Manders’ concern with appearances is emphasise...

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