April 4, 2010

I Love Babysitting

Especially when the babysitee is twelve years old, shares his easter chocolates, and watches the sixth Harry Potter movie with you.

So I basically got paid forty bucks to spend three hours hanging out and watching movies. That is, in my opinion, an epic win.

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In other news, here is a story I wrote at the beginning of sophomore year.

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Every June, the town's public library would hold a fundraising event. Seats were sold for a minimum donation of twenty-five dollars. The sizes of the tables varied, as most of them were either dragged in from the various sections of the library or loaned to the building by patrons. Some tables sat twenty people; others held only two.

At one of the smallest tables, during this particular year, sat a comparably small woman. Her companion, a man who, according to his name card, was called Kevin, had yet to make an appearance, so she had picked up the book in front of her and begun to read. A few minutes later, the mysterious Kevin arrived.

"Hello," said Kevin. "I'm Ryan."

"Are you certain that you're in the right spot, Kevin?" she said, looking pointedly at the name card.

"Kevin Ryan. I go by my last name."

"In that case, I'm Jane Collins. Pleasure to meet you."

"Likewise." He paused for a moment to let her speak, but she had returned to her book, so he decided to just keep talking. "Say, what book did you list as your favorite?"

"Jane Eyre."

The man looked at her, waiting for the punch line, and after a few moments she raised her eyes to look at him. "What?"

"Tiny Jane loves tiny Jane. You must be joking."

"I assure you, I am perfectly serious."

"Please, you actually enjoy Jane Eyre? You probably just like it for the similarities. I'll bet you hadn't even picked it up until right now."

"Of course I've read it, and I enjoyed it very much, thank you. Just because some pompous men might declare it 'too girly' doesn't make it any less worthy of praise."

He snorted.

"Oh, you disagree."

"I've read better."

"Such as...?"

"Walden, by Thoreau."

"Please! That's not even a novel."

"It's got great description and interesting philosophy."

"A canned response if I've ever heard one."

"Fine, have it your way."

She returned to her book, and he picked up Walden, flipping through its pages.

"Look at this," he said.

"I'm reading."

"Read this, then. Page 104. 'The note of the whippoorwill is borne on the rippling wind from over the water. Sympathy with the fluttering alder and poplar leaves almost takes away my breath; yet, like the lake, my serenity is rippled but not ruffled.'"

"Improper use of a semicolon."

He ignored her and continued speaking, this time using his own words. "Notice how he uses this passage to unite himself with the natural world. The word ripple is both an emotion and a birdcall, and it also connects his serenity to the lake. And this isn't just here- the whole book carefully constructs human's connection with nature."

"There's no need to lecture me, I'm well aware of what good writing is."

"Then you agree that Thoreau is better than Brontë."

"His nature descriptions might win out, but, truly, anyone could write those. It takes a true master to create strong characters and properly describe humanity. The only character Thoreau respects is himself."

"His guests are just as fascinating."

"He's simply transcribing events to paper. There's no true comprehension of humanity."

"And Jane Eyre's so much better?"

"Yes."

"You going to back that one up?"

"It's not that simple. Part of the beauty of Brontë's work is the change in the characters, particularly Jane. And even the smaller ones behave in such interesting and unique ways. It's truly wonderful."

"I'm not seeing the proof."

She marked her place and began thumbing through the book. "Here's a bit where Jane talks about Mrs. Reed and herself. 'It was her nature to wound me cruelly; never was I happy in her presence. However carefully I obeyed, however strenuously I strove to please her, my efforts were still repulsed, and repaid by such sentences as above,' the above referring to Mrs. Reed telling the principal of Jane's future school that Jane is a lier. Each of the points was carefully made twice. Jane 'obeyed' and 'strove,' and Mrs. Reed 'repaid' and was 'repulsed.' The repetition makes doubly certain that the reader understands, and shows that the character's traits manifest themselves in multiple ways, just as an actual person's would. Aside from that, the passage gives insight into both characters; it shows how young Jane reacts to cruelty and the exact pain Mrs. Reed is capable of inflicting."

Ryan opened his moth for a rebuttal, then stopped himself when he discovered he had nothing to say. "You do seem to know what you're talking about."

"Of course I do! You could have just listened in the first place. Brontë's characters are every bit as valuable- truly, they are more so- as Thoreau's endless love affair with trees."

"Are you trying to imply something about Thoreau?"

"I wouldn't dream of it."

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4 comments:

Gretchen said...

i hated walden and loved jane eyre.

haha, nice job :)

Gretchen said...

aren't kids allowed to stay home alone once they're 12?

Ginny said...

I haven't read Walden or Jane Eyre completely, but I found Jane Eyre more dramatic than Walden (which suited me fine at the time), and Walden much more directly, in-your-face thought-provoking (along the lines of, what am I doing in school right now and not finding myself in the middle of the woods?).

I wish I could have a babysitting job like that. And my mom just let me stay home alone whenever (not that it happened regularly, since she's almost always home), as long as I don't touch the stove, because I always forget that I've turned it on.

Traxy said...

Epic win!

I've not read Walden, but I do like me Jane Eyre...