Red Dress 1946 Essay Example
Red Dress 1946 Essay Example

Red Dress 1946 Essay Example

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L had worn these clothes with docility, even pleasure, in the days when I was unaware of the world's opinion. Now, grown wiser, I wished for dresses like those y friend Lonnie had, bought at Bale's store. The relationship between the narrator and her mother give the reader a sense of her ambivalent feelings towards growing up. Her thoughts show that she wants to be treated like an adult, "She enraged me, talking like this to Lonnie, as if Lonnie were a grown up and I were still a child," but still wishes to be "safe behind the barriers of childhood. " She is afraid to go to the school ball because she feels unattractive and that the boys won't ask her to dance. She compares herself to her friend Lonnie who she describes as "light boned, pale ND thin," while she describes herself as "a great raw lump. The school setting demonstrates her fear of not fitting in and the need to be accepted by her peers. She explains "at high school I was never comfortable for a minute. " She felt scared and weak, but tried not to let it show. She Joined in when her classmates made fun of teachers, because she was afraid of what they would think if she didn't. The use of the metaphor, "there was a carnival atmosphere of brutality in the room at such times, scaring weak and prospect people like me" helps us to imagine how brutal and rule her peers are, and how terrified she is of them.

The w


ay her classmates behaved towards the teachers show how cruel they can be, or could be towards her if she did not Join in. The boys made fun of the English teacher and "sometimes she would burst into tears, there was no help for it, she had to run out into the hall. " Even though it is obvious the narrator feels sorry for the English teacher, she still laughs along with her peers, "Then the boys made loud mooing noises; our hungry laughter - Oh mine too- pursued her. " Once the narrator finally reaches the school ball, she winks that her worst fears are confirmed.

When it is time for the boys to ask the girls to dance, she is not chosen. She wonders what is wrong with her, she sees other girls going to dance, "fat girls, girls with pimples, a poor girl who didn't own a good dress" and is left feeling confused. "Why everybody else and not me? I had a velvet dress, I did my hair in curlers. " She decides that she is not good enough, "It did not work. What I had been afraid of was true. " The first person narration allows the readers to feel sympathetic for the narrator because we know exactly what she is thinking, deadness and despair.

She sees the other girls dancing and notices how 'bored' they look. "The girls stood beside them, resting their hands casually on male sleeves, their faces bored, aloof and beautiful. I longed to be like that. " Even though the

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narrator thinks she longs to be like them, she also longs for the security of being 'bored' rather than terrified. While she wants to fit in and be like the others there is also a sense where she doesn't - she doesn't necessarily want to be 'ordinary. ' The climax of the story is when the narrator is finally asked to dance by a boy.

She realizes that maybe here is nothing wrong with her after all, "nobody told him to, he didn't have to, he just asked me. Was it possible, could I believe it, was there nothing the matter with me after all? " She realizes that she is no longer scared and explains how her legs had forgotten to tremble and her hands had forgotten to sweat. The boy walks her home, along with Lonnie and another boy, and he kisses her when they say goodbye. This is her moment of revelation, her epiphany. She realizes that what she thinks of herself, is not necessarily the same as others think of her. L went around the house to the jack door, thinking, I have been to a dance and a boy has walked me home and kissed me. It was all true. My life was possible. " She sees her mother and decides not to tell her what has happened; she wants to keep her happiness to herself. She "understands what a mysterious and oppressive obligation she had to be happy. " The story Red Dress 1946 is a story about growing up. The young narrator is not the naive girl that she was at the beginning of the story. Through her revelation she realizes that there is nothing wrong with her after all, and how she deserves to be happy.