English.docx - Another very important message the author...

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Another very important message the author may be trying to communicate is that the ambiguity between true attraction and superficial flirtation often creates an emotional minefield in the arena of romance. In the story, our unnamed narrator hopes for the young man to call. After all, he had seemed sufficiently absorbed in her at the skating rink. During their time together, the young man had been confident, attentive, and gallant. Like a professional pick-up artist, the young man had been able to make her believe that he was deeply and irreversibly attracted to her. As time progressed, however, the protagonist had to embrace reality: "he will never, never call—never." One of the first clues that the young man was only interested in a brief flirtation with her was his immediate emotional engagement upon physical contact. He did not ask for permission to put his arm around her waist; he simply did it. Throughout his encounter with the protagonist, he set the tone for every exchange. He showed no inclination to get to know her as an individual. Our heroine concedes that she remembers nothing about the content of their conversation, only the laughter that accompanied it. Later, the young man voiced his intention to take our heroine home; again, he did not ask for her permission to do so. His every action was calculated to project cool confidence and self-possession. Against her better judgment, the protagonist felt herself helplessly drawn to the young man. So, yes, Maureen Daly's story definitely highlights the fine line between true desire and gratuitous flirtation. The protagonist in Maureen Daly's short story "Sixteen" is best described, quite simply, as an average sixteen-year-old girl. This first person narrator proclaims herself "not really so dumb"--a girl who knows "what a girl should do and what she shouldn't." Like many other teenage girls (or perhaps like the stereotyped teenage girl), she has a propensity for romanticizing the people and places around her, despite her insistence that she is grounded and worldly. She is attentive to detail and poetic in her descriptions of what occurs; although she seems to have a good head on her shoulders, there is evidence--such as her decision to go skating when her homework isn't finished--that she is perhaps not the most reliable individual. It is that side of her that emerges when she meets the boy who goes skating with her. No longer is she concerned about keeping up dignified appearances; rather, she is concerned with the status of the boy as a "big shot" and the "best dancer in town." Her experience with him and her longing for him to call when he clearly won't is indicative of her youthful naïveté and the true softness of her character behind the tough exterior she has constructed.
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The Elements of a Short Story The challenge in reading a short story lies in grasping all of the same elements of fiction that you see in a novel, but in a shorter format. Consequently, short story authors are very skilled at presenting the most information using the least amount of words. This
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