|image Vernon Nye
But, we are told, there are "two Carolines", the "home Caroline" and the "school Caroline." At home, it seems, Caroline is quite cross. But at school, she radiates kindness and joy-- probably, as the story suggests, because "she loved her teacher more than she did even her own Mother." This points to trouble at home for Caroline, and one can only hope the teacher will intervene and contact the authorities to remove Caroline from what the reader can only speculate is an abusive or neglectful home situation.
We see Mother using Caroline for menial manual labor, as well as sending her young daughter alone to the store to buy groceries for the family. Caroline always obeys, but she grumbles as she does it--the death knell for any little girl in an Uncle Arthur story. It turns out that Mother has set up an ambush for her poor daughter, and without any Admiral Ackbar to warn her, Caroline had fallen right into the trap. Mother has invited Caroline's teacher over so she could hear the girl complain as she set the table. Caroline loses what appears to be her only ally in the world when the teacher scolds the "trembling" child, who "bursts into tears."
After that, we are told, Caroline never felt safe in her own home and likely never trusted an adult again, because "she could never feel quite sure that there was not someone listening to her in the next room" and judging her.
Fear is the best motivator for kids.
Maxwell, Arthur S. "The Two Carolines." Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories. Vol. 2. Washington, DC: Review and Herald, 1966. 15-19.
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