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Analysis of Narrative Writing through “The Red Dress” Notes.

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1 Analysis of Narrative Writing through “The Red Dress” Notes

2 Recap Questions What is the narrator’s attitude towards: ◦ Her mother? ◦ High school? ◦ Lonnie? Why doesn’t she want to go to the dance? What is she nervous about? What does the narrator do before the dance?

3 Vocab Docility: easily handled Treadle: sewing machine operated by your foot to put the machine in action Ferocious: intense anger Melodramatic: beyond dramatic; overdramatic Irrelevant: not important, not applicable or pertinent

4 Before Narrator: ◦ Teenager ◦ Worried about others’ opinions ◦ Attitude towards mom- embarrassed and annoyed by her, unappreciative, not nice ◦ Attitude towards Lonnie- jealous (we assume Lonnie has money) Mother: ◦ Indecisive ◦ Creeps around the house/the narrator’s life ◦ Gets an idea and doesn’t do much with it.

5 Before Lonnie: ◦ Disguises how she really feels on the inside with her physical appearance because she is prettier ◦ Privileged, vulnerable ◦ Do you think it is easier for her to play the part because she is pretty? Narrator & Lonnie: ◦ Talk about sex, love, and adult situations because they are curious and inexperienced Thesis: Story is leading up to the dress at the Christmas party…action that is coming

6 During Narrator: ◦ Self-conscious about her appearance (not as skinny as she would like to be) ◦ Does not like high school ◦ She sees how cruel people can be if you’re different ◦ “Hungry laughter”- hungry to fit in; laughing because everyone else is BUT she really thinks it’s cruel ◦ Exposed to embarrassment, cruelty, social competition, and sexual competition ◦ Doesn’t want to go to the dance…afraid of not being asked to dance/not being sexually appealing

7 During Narrator: ◦ Does her hair and makeup…thinks it will help her keep up with her social world and fit in. ◦ Annoyed with her mom again  Won’t leave them alone  Copies the way they say goodbye ◦ Says thank you because she has to; doesn’t mean it ◦ Very nervous; already engaged in sexual competition with Lonnie…sees her as the sexual being she wants to be herself.

8 During The older girls: ◦ Seem like the most important guests ◦ Free to do what they wanted without criticism ◦ Viewed Grade 9 kids as invisible and inanimate (not moving, living, breathing, etc) ◦ All had boyfriends ◦ Act like they are too good to be there ◦ Mason: teased her with a dance and walked away ◦ Simile: “as offensive as having to memorize Shakespeare.”

9 During At the dance: ◦ Feeling ugly, alone, embarrassed, confused ◦ All of the other “ugly” girls are being danced with ◦ Her fears are being confirmed:  She was afraid of rejection and got rejected ◦ Popular girls not even smiling

10 During Mary Fortune comes along: ◦ Narrator sees confidence in her that she doesn’t have but wants ◦ Doesn’t seem to like high school either ◦ Every girl she knows is boy crazy ◦ Ironic that the girl she is speaking to (narrator) is actually the boy crazy girl

11 During Mary suggests they leave and get coffee Narrator agrees: ◦ Made a new friend ◦ Nothing else to do at the dance because no one is dancing with her ◦ Feels like she found someone who understands her ◦ Narrator sees herself in Mary (Mary is older and learned more by now)

12 During  After “I was on my way to have a hot chocolate, with my friend.” ◦ Why is this line significant? As she is leaving, Raymond asks her to dance. ◦ Why is this the climax? ◦ What has changed or turned for the narrator at this point?  She was asked to dance/was approached AFTER she stopped caring)  Starts to think that maybe there isn’t anything wrong with her.

13 Recap Discussion Questions How did the narrator begin to change after meeting Mary? Ultimately, why did the narrator decide not to go with Mary? Are you disappointed with the narrator after her decision? Were you expecting it? In the end, did she make the right decision?

14 Story Analysis Second to last paragraph: ◦ Did you find her response to Raymond’s invitation and to his “businesslike” kiss believable? Why or why not?

15 Story Analysis “Then he turned back to town, never knowing he had been my rescuer, that he had brought me from Mary Fortune’s territory into the ordinary world.” ◦ Do you think the girl cares for Raymond, or is she just relieved to be like everyone else? Why do you think she finds it desirable to be ordinary in an “ordinary world”? Why does the girl fear Mary Fortune’s “territory”?

16 Story Analysis “But when I saw the waiting kitchen, and my mother in her faded, fuzzy Paisley kimono, with her sleepy but doggedly expectant face, I understood what a mysterious and oppressive obligation I had, to be happy, and how I had almost failed it, and would be likely to fail it, every time, and she would not know.” ◦ What is she trying to say here? ◦ Do you think she regrets not going with Mary?

17 Open-Ended Question Through her experiences at the dance, the narrator learns something about her mother, about herself, about other people, and about happiness and unhappiness. ◦ Explain what the narrator learns? ◦ ** Remember to use the text for support.


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