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Dressing Up Essay

954 words - 4 pages

Dressing up

Over the years it has become more and more essential to project an image of individuality. Especially in the teen-years, it is crucial to find oneself. Along with the self-awareness comes the increasing focus on other people’s image. If somebody possesses qualities that seem attractive, some people might assimilate that specific person’s behavior or style with the hope of obtaining these qualities. This is shown in the short story ‘Dressing up’, where the reader is presented with two sisters, Rachel and Flora. One of which (Rachel) possesses qualities that the other one (Flora) lacks. Flora therefore turns to drastic measures in her attempt to obtain Rachel’s qualities.
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To describe the party, the writer uses powerful adjectives such as: colorful, boisterous, exploding and wild. This is done to contrast the two parties. In contrary to the party in the middle of the room we have the mother’s party. Here the atmosphere is unpleasant to a degree where adjectives are superfluous. The mother forgets about the discord between her daughters and begins to feel sorry for herself. She wanted nothing but a nice and easy birthday but the void between the two girls has ruined that for her. Instead of trying to solve the problem between them, she gets upset and acts like a child. ‘”I don’t want pudding,” she said, rather childishly,’ (page 4, line 121). The fact that she is upset leads to a character change within the mother. She goes from not handling the problem to solving it by being harsh and unforgiving. The very distinct description of the mother’s way of handling her girls makes parenting on of the themes of the short story.
Another theme is sisters and how they interact with one another. As mentioned earlier the story revolves around two sisters called Rachel and Flora. The reader is first presented with Rachel and a vague image of her is already drawn in the second line of the story: ‘Her thin body was taut, her whole body shook,’ (page 1, line 2). The reader instantly takes notice of the words ‘thin body’. This image of Rachel as ‘the lucky one’ of the two sisters remains throughout the short story, and the image created of Flora just reinforces the image of Rachel. The first thing the reader learns about Flora is that she has absolutely no order in her room, ‘… disordered heaps of crumpled discarded...

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