It's hard to find compassion for Rose, although Charlie man-ages to. Women in the 1950s were much more identified with their children, and some people would attribute developmental disabilities to sins of the parent. Clearly, Rose did not want to be responsible for a child with low intelligence. But until the birth of Norma, her daughter, she was trying to care for Charlie. We see that she had read some books that recommended being tough on Charlie and not giving in to him. Laziness was often attributed as a source of poor school performance, as it is even today, and for some, laziness was a sign of the devil. Rose needed to believe that something could be done to improve Charlie's intellectual capabilities. Because Rose seemed to be a firm believer that she could beat "sin" out of Charlie, we are left to wonder about her own childhood. Her treatment of her second child, Norma, was also abnormal in that Rose showered her with too much attention and later tried to control her life, much as she had controlled her husband's.