Robert Newton

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Runner: Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

During Charlie’s first week working for Squizzy, he runs only a few unimportant errands. In between jobs, he offers to clean Squizzy’s car, and Squizzy compliments Charlie on his initiative. At the end of each day, Charlie takes off his new boots and puts back on his old ones before returning home. On Friday, Squizzy pays Charlie for the week and tells him that he needs two boys for a job the following night. Charlie suggests he do the job with Nostrils, and Squizzy accepts the idea.
Charlie changing his boots every day is thematically significant on two levels. First, he changes his boots so his mother will believe he is still attending school. In addition, the physical act of changing shoes to maintain that lie reflects how Charlie exists in between childhood and adulthood. Just as he must change his shoes, he also must switch between childhood and adulthood as he travels from home to work and back again. His routine with the boots also reflects his lingering grief for Mr. Feehan, as putting on the boots reminds Charlie of his father.  
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The next morning, Charlie wakes up to Jack crying. He gets up and retrieves the pound note that Squizzy paid him, marveling that it is real—and all his. Charlie goes to the timber yard to get wood from Mr. Peacock, but Mr. Peacock refuses to give him any wood. He snaps at Charlie to tell Mrs. Feehan that he will be coming over the next day. Charlie is stunned that Mr. Peacock would break his promise to Mr. Feehan. He tells his mother what Mr. Peacock said, and Mrs. Feehan starts crying. She assures Charlie the situation is not his fault and, with a sad smile, tells him that she knows what to do.
Charlie is slowly working to realize his ambitions of wealth and comfort, though his excitement that the pound note is all his highlights the self-serving nature of that ambition. His encounter with Mr. Peacock cuts that excitement short, however. The fact that Charlie doesn’t understand Mr. Peacock’s motivations is another hint that Charlie is not as mature as he believes himself to be, and his reliance on Mrs. Feehan to submit to Mr. Peacock shows that he still depends on his mother.
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