Family Life in ???The Charmer???
???The Charmer??? by Budge Wilson is a remarkable short story about a typical Canadian family that is faced with misfortune, lose and a mountain of emotions. Winifred narrates the story in third person, though throughout the story she seems to go unnoticed in the household unless beckoned upon by her oldest and only brother Zachary. Budge Wilson uses Zachary??™s charming personality, smothered upbringing and improper behaviour to concoct critical circumstances in an otherwise stable family.
The misfortune in the family begins when Zachary develops a temper; he constantly charms his way out of any consequences with his devilishly good looks and flattering word choices. Zachary is lead to believe that he can get through life by using his good looks, and he is not taught how to handle hardship or how to control his temper. Not only was Zachary smothered with love and affection by his mother his younger sisters also idolised him and were easily talked into doing anything ???How be you wash my bike for me, Posie, Love” I would be halfway to the kitchen for bucket and rags before he stopped speaking??¦ I was Zacharys willing slave. Slavery in fact, was a vogue in our house”(Wilson, 101). By constantly receiving favours he did not learn to appreciate what is actually being done for him, which later results in a disheveled and lost young man. Winifred is the first to realize that Zachary??™s actions where in fact sneaky and slimy and not at how she remembered them as a child. She begins to feel less pity and perhaps a bit of jealous when she says “The kind of dramatic repentance has a lot more clout than simple, everyday good behaviour, and he really knew how to bring it off” (Wilson, 103).
The dreaded day when Lizzie is diagnosed with leukemia really takes a toll on the family and they all spend the majority of their time at the hospital trying to keep her spirits high with the exception of Zachary who was often out gambling or drinking. Lizzie regularly asked for Zachary to visit her knowing he could easily cheer her up. When Zachary??™s mother returns home and begs him to visit Lizzie at the hospital, his response was he was to old to be nagged at. After that incident Zachary seemed to become a bigger nuisance in the family ???He was on a bender, day after day, or else hed sober up enough to spend a week trying to win liquor money at the poker table??¦ Zack lost a job and got another and then lost that one, too. He was forever taking off in the family car, just as we were needing to go to the hospital??? (Wilson, 104). The day arrives when Zachary decides to sober up and visit Lizzie, he arrives with a pink teddy bear along with other presents for her and wearing her favorite outfit ??“his tight jeans and Mickey mouse shirt-. His gesture is put to an abrupt end when he is informed that Lizzie had died earlier that day.
After finding out he was too late Zach leaves for several days, though when he returns he receives condolence and instant forgiveness from his mother. To Zachary??™s surprise his father is not as forgiving, he has now realized that his son is in fact un-charming therefore he gives Zach two options, one to act as a slave and not his son, or two pack his stuff and leave. ???In about half an hour, he came down the stairs carrying two suitcases. He stopped at the bottom, and then went over and touched Mom on the shoulder. Thats all. Then he just walked out the door without a word (Wilson, 107).??? Zachary made a bold cowardly decision based on his own wellbeing without taking into consideration the fact that his mother had just lost a child and perhaps could not handle losing another.
In conclusion when a child is brought up smothered and praised for doing wrong they most likely will have trouble adjusting to the real world and handling day to day problems. Winifred learnt valuable life lessons by having Zachary as a brother and it will perhaps prepare her to handle her daughter Stephanie??™s personality. As a family they had a lot of obstacles to overcome and still found ways to cope with daily problems, but due to a devastating disease and hasty actions the family is left to deal with Lizzie??™s death and the fact that Zachary, the charmer is gone.
Family Life in ???The Charmer???