“The Terrapin” by Patricia Highsmith starts with Victor, who hears his mother coming home and hides the psychology book he is reading under the sofa cushions. His mother scolds Victor for not going out to play, while the boy argues it is too cold outside. Victor is bothered by the fact that his mother makes him wear short pants in the French fashion. The mother asks Victor’s opinion on her illustrations, and Victor recalls she hasn’t had any success with her illustrations in years and that they live off the money sent by his father, who is a businessman and lives in France with another woman.

Victor’s mother always claims that the boy is her inspiration for her most famous drawings, even though her illustrations were based on already-written stories. Victor is frustrated by his mother...

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